Microsoft Wants To Make Personal Holograms For Remote Work & Socialising
Microsoft is hoping to make holograms a reality in social and work environments in its new collaboration with artificial intelligence firm Mesh.
During the tech giant’s annual Ignite conference, Microsoft revealed how it plans to create a digital environment capable of sharing avatars, 3D models and data in holographic firm with the power of AR and VR.
Alongside Mesh, it is developing something called ‘holoportation’, which will allow the company to create photorealistic digital avatars of your body which can appear in any virtual space in the world.
It will use eye-tracking and facial-monitoring to allow the hologram to mimic a person’s facial expressions and eye contact.
Over time, the company said it expects customers will be able to choose from a growing set of Microsoft Mesh-enabled applications built by external developers and partners, and also to benefit from planned integration with Microsoft products such as Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365.
“This is why we’ve been so passionate about mixed reality as the next big medium for collaborative computing,” Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said. “It’s magical when two people see the same hologram.”
Microsoft says its collaboration with Mesh will; “enable geographically distributed teams to have more collaborative meetings, conduct virtual design sessions, assist others, learn together and host virtual social meetups. People will initially be able to express themselves as avatars in these shared virtual experiences and over time use holoportation to project themselves as their most lifelike, photorealistic selves.”
“Two friends living on opposite coasts could join the same concert as avatars and experience the show together, or perhaps eventually one day a holoportation of someone’s grandmother living in another country could interact with family members in real time at a reunion.”
In the conference, Microsoft demonstrated Mesh’s ability to project a 3D model of a car into a real space.
The Bill Gates-owned company hopes holoportation can not only be used for remote work and social gatherings, but also be implemented in gaming and educational experiences.
Kipman said of the concept: “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.”
Microsoft hasn’t offered a concrete timeline for the launch of its collaboration with Mesh, but it may take a while before holoportation is developed and tested enough for everyday use.
Mesh is powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and can run on devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens headsets, VR goggles and smartphones.