Software giant Microsoft had a big unveil at Microsoft’s Ignite digital conference. The unveiling was of Microsoft Mesh: evolution of its augmented reality vision, which brings the technology to movie-like levels.
Microsoft also revealed “holoportation”. With this technology, a 3D render of a person can beam into a virtual room. This means that users can see virtual renderings of people in their living rooms, even if those people are thousands of miles away.
Holoportation, a new way to video call?
Microsoft refers to this new area of innovation as “mixed-reality”. The company’s Azure cloud-computing service is behind the computations, to render people virtually from wherever they are.
Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said in a company blog post “This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning”. “You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.”
Does it mean buying new hardware?
The fact that Mesh users don’t all need to own Hololens 2 headsets to take advantage of this feature is what makes it really cool. Traditional VR headsets users can also jump into Mesh environments using cartooned avatars of themselves.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially difficult for designers to work together in the same room when working on complex machinery. In a Microsoft demo, users walk around virtual representations of a car’s frame and internals to collaborate more easily. Somewhat like Tony Stark’s lab in the Iron Man films.
Microsoft posits that just about any industry can make use of this technology, from architecture to medicine.
When can users get to use Mesh?
No exact date for the release of Mesh has been given by Microsoft yet. The company will open up a full suite of AI-powered tools for developers in the coming months. Microsoft is likely to prioritize industrial applications first, before rolling Mesh out to general consumers. And it does seem that Microsoft has general users in mind by the way the company was keen to also show off what Pokémon Go could look like using the technology along with footage of doctors and researchers using Mesh, It would surely have the potential to take open-world gaming to the next level.