Microsoft just gave us a closer look at how its new augmented reality headset could change the workplace.
The company has been showing off the HoloLens since January, but its most recent demo paints a clearer picture of how it will work with other programs to let designers collaborate on projects.
At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner’s Conference, the company demonstrated how the HoloLens would integrate with Autodesk’s Maya 3D animation software — a popular graphic art and design program.
You’ll be able to work on a project in Maya on your desktop computer with a traditional mouse and keyboard while projecting a realistic 3-D rendering of the model, as Microsoft demonstrated. This could make it easier for coworkers to see what you’re working on without having to peek over your shoulder. The changes you make also show up on the 3-D model as you’re working.
You can also project 3-D models onto a real-world objects to see how your project will look in real life. In the example below, a model of a motorcycle is being projected over an actual motorcycle so that you can change its colour.
But perhaps the most interesting use case shown in the demo was how the HoloLens lets you collaborate with coworkers around the world. If someone leaves a comment on your project, the HoloLens can pull it up and show it on the exact section of the design your coworker was referring to in the comment.
The HoloLens knows where you’re looking and how close you are to the object, too, so when it shows you comments it knows exactly how large the text should be and where it should be placed.
The HoloLens can then read the comments out loud and demonstrate the changes. So, if the comment was referring to certain changes that should be made to the mirror, the HoloLens would show that. It looks really futuristic in the demo.
“Every time I see it, it just gets even more exciting,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said after the demo during the keynote. “For the very first time, we’re going to have a computer that’s going to allow us to mix the digital and the real.”
Microsoft has yet to announce when the HoloLens will be released or how much it will cost, but the company has said in the past that it will launch during Windows 10’s lifetime. A report from The New York Times said it will cost more than an Xbox gaming console.