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Arms Race in Mixed Reality: How it Shapes Our Lives and Whole Industries

February 27, 2019 No Comments

Featured article by Emma Jones, content writer at TechsCrunch

Mixed Reality teams handle software development for two platforms – HoloLens and immersive VR headsets. Virtual distributed teams, and those who hire them for staff augmentation, need to have expertise in building the software, APIs and core blocks within Windows Mixed Reality.

Picture it: You are in an office 30 years ago and you need to onboard a new team member. You rush around to organize a decent workspace, which typically includes a chair, desk, and if a company is cool enough – a basic computer.

In an office today, that new team member is not physically present. The presence in its traditional sense is reduced to a person’s social media profile – we check their account in Facebook and Instagram to get an impression. Before anything else, we make sure our new coworker has been added to relevant channels in Slack.

It looks like people are ready to abandon the reality as they are tapping into a global digital ocean where Mixed Reality is one of the most advanced technologies to date. An example of such world is outlined in a recent movie and a sci-fi novel Ready Player One in which the humanity chooses to live inside of a beautiful computer-generated oasis instead of the real world.

Mixed Reality in the work setting

A typical day in a virtual office looks like this: You’re sitting in the office surrounded by ordinary things like desks and chairs. You put on a headset and see the same room but with virtual chat rooms, digital screens, and even a virtual pet. Computer-generated objects are completely integrated in the physical spaces.

You’re the only one who can see that office.  

Your coworkers don’t need to be physically present anymore, you can replace them with their avatars. You can adjust the entire office space to your preference and make it fully virtual. A subtle boundary grill will mark the walls of the room.

While it’s easy to imagine Mixed Reality, it’s also hard to define it. It is known as a mix of VR and AR that is meant for creating virtual environments where digital and physical objects interact in real time. Overall, it’s a marketing term coined by Microsoft that covers products providing immersive experience via immersive technology like VR headsets and HoloLens.

MR 1 300x131 Arms Race in Mixed Reality: How it Shapes Our Lives and Whole Industries

Even though Microsoft HoloLens is the most popular among Mixed Reality gear, there are other strong players in the field like Zappar (Zapbox headset) and Occipital (Bridge Headset).

Social Experiences: Mozilla Hubs

The company has created Hubs, a product that combines Mixed Reality and social media. It supports any Mixed Reality headset and if you don’t have one, you can use your phone or desktop. Click on a web link – and you’re inside a virtual chat room. It allows to review 3D models, give a PDF presentation, watch videos, listen to music and exchange files with friends.

Engineering and Construction: Trimble

Trimble company harnesses the power of Mixed Reality via Microsoft HoloLens and Trimble Hard Hat, headsets which allow engineers and architects to review virtual models overlaying physical environment. On field this technology conveniently integrates holographic data on 1:1 scale. This technology is super useful for training and comparing plans against work completed.

Entertainment: Sony’s Cave

Ever wondered what it’s like to visit any space you can imagine without leaving the room? Cave by Sony lets users do just that and while interacting with people around you. No headset is required. Cave is a room with projectors and proximity sensors on the walls. The selected location will appear on screens around you, and there’s also a touchscreen involved that captures your motion. One of the ideas of how to use rooms like Cave is karaoke with immersive experience. Others believe the room can be of great help to interior designers.

MR 2 300x161 Arms Race in Mixed Reality: How it Shapes Our Lives and Whole Industries  Sony Cave presentation

Medicine: CAE Healthcare 

HoloLens and Google Glass represent a huge leap in improvement of patients’ safety through technology. Healthcare professionals use innovative headsets and glasses to guide them through surgery and for training purposes. HoloLens makes it possible for doctors to see everything to the tiniest veins. More so, students have the benefit of studying the human body in 3D instead of via commonplace pictures and descriptions in books.

Sports: NextVR, StriVR

Mixed Reality opens new opportunities for coaches and athletes. For fans, Mixed Reality elevates your experience to the level where you can enjoy the seat-on-the-sidelines experience, from anywhere in the world. It also assists athletes in training and coaches in finding new game strategies.

Final Thoughts

Mixed Reality isn’t a futuristic concept anymore – it’s already part of the world shaping the way we work and communicate. As workers, patients, fans and office workers, we all will soon be touched by virtual reality. Moreover, our digital presence has become extremely important in choosing a place to work and whom to hire. Your desktop icons create a digital environment and they are by far more important than what kind of device you use.


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