Updated: 19th August 2017

VR headset mashup with Microsoft’s HoloLens shows the future of mixed reality

Image: Drew Gottlieb via youtube  

Yes, I’m tired of hearing about the “mixed reality” as “the next big thing,” too. Virtual reality and augmented reality are still just becoming fully baked experiences. Enough with the VC-fueled hype cycles.

But a new experiment could merge the two technologies into something that’s genuinely exciting.

A software developer managed to take an HTC Vive headset (VR) and a Microsoft HoloLens headset (AR) and connect the two with an app, which allows users of both to interact with each other in mixed reality.

Using Microsoft’s HoloLens developer kit, Drew Gottlieb, who is studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology, created an app called the HoloViveObserver. It gives a HoloLens user the ability to observe or take over in real time a VR project from a Vive user.

The key here is that the HoloLens user doesn’t see what the Vive user is building in a virtual environment, but rather floating in space alongside real objects.

And instead of requiring additional hardware in order for the HoloLens user to participate with the Vive user, the HoloLens user can simply use the Vive’s controllers.

Image:

Drew Gottlieb

Similarly, the Vive user can see exactly where the HoloLens user is standing, even while immersed in VR.

The initial headset-to-headset handshake is accomplished using Unitys built-in matchmaking service. When the HoloLens user is ready to connect, he or she simply holds a real-world Vive controller in the same location as the virtual Vive controller seen in the display.

The process of syncing up the HoloLens with the Vive via virtual controller.

Image:

Drew Gottlieb

Another key feature is that two HoloLens users can use the Vive controllers to collaborate using the same app (no Vive headset needed), and build virtual objects that hover in the real world.

“I imagine this kind of thing being valuable for collaborative content creation,” says Gottlieb. “Say you’re adjusting a character’s movements for an animated film. In VR, you can effectively work within the virtual film set. While doing that, you can call over a colleague to discuss the character’s expression, and they’ll put on holographic glasses to see that character in front of you.”

Image:

Gottlieb says that this is just a proof of concept to show what’s possible in mixed reality. The code for the app is available to anyone rich enough to own both the $3,000 HoloLens and the $800 Vive and wants to give the future of mixed reality a try.

BONUS: HoloLens IRL: What it’s like in Microsoft’s version of augmented reality

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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