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Microsoft Announces Windows Holographic Platform 99

An anonymous reader writes: At its Build 2015 developer conference [Wednesday], Microsoft announced the Windows Holographic Platform. In short, the company will let developers turn Windows 10 apps into holograms for HoloLens. On stage, Microsoft showed a Windows video app that you can simply control with your voice: Just say "follow me" and the video app moves along as you walk around a room. "Every single universal Windows app has these capabilities," said Alex Kipman, technical fellow for the operating system group at Microsoft. Apps can look like little windows, or they can be more than that. The demo included a photos app, a browser, Skype, a holographic Start Menu, and even a dog on the floor.
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Microsoft Announces Windows Holographic Platform

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  • Isn't that a clever use of resources!
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:08AM (#49585901)

    When you're done playing, kindly place it next to the Kinect, will ya?

  • Not Holograms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:14AM (#49585969)

    I wish the press and Microsoft would stop using the word "Hologram" when describing this. It's Virtual Reality. There are no holograms involved whatsoever.

    • Re:Not Holograms (Score:5, Informative)

      by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:19AM (#49586027)
      Indeed: []

      Wake me when they make real advances in holography, like holographic video.

    • Re:Not Holograms (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Arkh89 ( 2870391 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:21AM (#49586057)

      Exactly, I am wondering if this qualifies as false advertising : using the name of an advanced technology that would be enabling primary functions of the product but is not actually present.

    • Re:Not Holograms (Score:5, Insightful)

      by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:22AM (#49586067)

      I think it is technically augmented reality.

      • by Tx ( 96709 )

        It's being augmented reality does not have any bearing on whether it is holographic or not; augmented reality means that the generated display is overlayed on the real world, so that the user sees both real and virtual objects simultaneously. This could be done with a holographic display as well as with a conventional stereoscopic display.

        Heven't seen any convincing info that Microsoft is using a light-field display in HoloLens, although they are trying to make out that they are doing something clever, but

        • I see. Yeah there is no way it's holographic.

        • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

          but the chances are it's not actually holographic.

          You can be certain about it. There is no real-time holographic display as of today. For LFDs (Light Field Display), NVidia had a prototype [] a few years back and it is reasonable to think that Magic Leap is pursuing something similar. Yet, I don't think the technology is mature enough to be able to generate dense light fields needed for high quality scene rendering.

          • Neither holography nor light-field-display is necessary for a goggle based device. Each retina collects photons on a surface and with a single eye you get a 2D image*. Your brain combines the images from your eyes in very complex ways to create a 3D internal model, but as far as what needs to get shined into your eyes, it's just the 2D image constructed on your retina that matters. Slightly different images to form a realtime stereogram is all that's necessary.

            (*although with one eye that moves around yo

            • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

              Each retina collects photons on a surface and with a single eye you get a 2D image*. Your brain combines the images from your eyes in very complex ways to create a 3D internal model, but as far as what needs to get shined into your eyes, it's just the 2D image constructed on your retina that matters.

              That is incorrect. There are numerous 3D depth perception cues, among which are stereo-vision, depth of field (things far from what you are looking at appear blurry) and prior knowledge of the objects size (knowing the average size of a car, you know that if you see it "small", then it must be far away). With only one eye, the last two are perfectly valid. The very last one is very simple to reproduce but the depth of field is far from being trivial to implement. For VR head set such as the Oculus, you woul

              • There are numerous 3D depth perception cues, among which are stereo-vision,

                stereo vision is constructed in your brain from the two slightly different images on your retinas. Your brain does a lot of complicated things in constructing 3D models-- to the extent that you can have perfect refraction in both eyes and perfect retinas, but be missing half of your field of view due to neural damage in between your eyeball and your conscious brain.

                depth of field

                which is part of the 2D map of photons on your retina. I can construct a 2D image that has proper DOF cues.

                prior knowledge of the objects size

                which is also in your brain and unne

                • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

                  I can construct a 2D image that has proper DOF cues.

                  Yes, you can construct it but it your eye is still focusing on a plane and the depth cues you are feeding it (them) do not match this. If you "force" your vision on something blurry, the device better has some way to find out this and tell it to the rendering engine. Retinal tracking allows the rendering engine to know what part of the scene is observed (in the center of the FoV) which helps for finding the actual depth and focusing parameters.

                  Yet, whatever tricks you use, the crystalline lens will always c

                  • LFD might be slightly better at this but holography is the ultimate solution here.

                    Holography is much further off than practical LFD, which is further off than stereogram goggles. Realtime holographic imaging with useful performance has only become practical recently, and still only in limited applications. Realtime true holographic display is a whole different animal.

          • by Khyber ( 864651 )

            "There is no real-time holographic display as of today."

            If our universe turns out to be a 3D projection, I'm going to point and laugh, endlessly.

    • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:47AM (#49586323)
      No, it's definitely a hologram. But then, so is the whole universe.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Its not VR either buddy.

      Its more Augmented Reality.

      There IS a difference...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually its AUGMENTED Reality.

    • I think Microsoft may be able to get away with this on a technicality because the waveguide used in the glasses may be a holographic material. Kind of like this []
    • Time for next over-hyped technology.
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      They use the word hologram to describe this because that's the word that pop culture identifies with... even though it is wrong.

      You are right, however... this no more makes holograms than a View-Master toy [] invented in the 60's... it just has a lot more tech behind it.

    • its not vr its augmented realty. unlike vr the real world isnt blocked from view.
  • and even a dog on the floor

    "Happiness is a warm puppy." Even Charlie Brown and Lucy knew this. An image of a dog is far from the real thing. Hopefully, virtual "reality" will never replace the real thing - though with the number of people living their lives on facebook and twitter, maybe it will help drop the birthrate well below zero when the only sex most people get is cyber.

    • "Happiness is a warm puppy." Even Charlie Brown and Lucy knew this. An image of a dog is far from the real thing.

      I wonder if I could put the dog on the floor, say "follow me," then put the HoloLense on my dog. I'm sure he'd have fun chasing it for a while, or at least I'd be entertained. :-D

    • "Happiness is a warm puppy."

      Or indeed anything with a bit of meat on, if you're hungry.

    • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:49AM (#49586357)
      For some reason I read that as "Happiness is a warm pussy," and found myself nodding enthusiastically in agreement.

      Maybe the cyber ones will have heaters.

    • how can you have a birthrate below zero? if everybody stopped reproducing today, wouldn't that merely result in a birthrate of 0?
  • by Mitchell Thompson ( 3437781 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:16AM (#49585995)
    Wired magazine covered it a month ago. Yep, Microsoft's new CEO is trying new things and attempting to restructure the company to be more accepting to these far-out-there ideas. Kudos. The old mantra was to only focus on core enterprise software and the Windows OS. I think the holograph idea is interesting, no doubt, but media is spinning it into "Look Microsoft bought Minecraft and they are working on a holograph system. ITS FOR GAMING!!11". No, the article I read spun it into a more mundane but useful application. Remote training / services etc. Examples were a plumber who can see your pipes and can show you in 3d what goes where... Or call up your buddy and he can help you fix your engine because he can see in 3d what you are seeing, and vice versa. This isn't VR. Its not exploring mars from the rover's perspective. Its sharing a perspective. That- is interesting.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:19AM (#49586037)

    Virtual anime girlfriends* are finally here!

    * Don't worry, I'll store them in separate folders so they don't know about each other.

  • I'll go right down in the basement and haul up my holographic projector, I'm sure the wife won't mind if I borrow the kids' sleep chamber cryo unit to fire up the display. After all, how can they mind since they're all holograms? Ha, ha! Clever people we are these days.

    Yes, I've been wondering when they were going to get around to building the operating system for that machine all of us ran out and bought in 1974 or whenever. I knew it was a good investment. Everybody said, "no, dude, don't buy the holograp

  • demo video online (Score:4, Informative)

    by eples ( 239989 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @11:35AM (#49586193)
    The demo starts at 2:31:00 into the keynote video: []
    • Two things:

      1) We're still not seeing what a user would actually see. We're seeing solid, background-occluding objects overlaid on a camera feed. I'd like them to put a small camera inside a headset, and show us what we'd actually see if we were using it.

      2) If they ever need a new guy to do Grover's voice on Sesame Street, I know who to call.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the most popular I/O devices for PCs will still be keyboard, mouse/touchpad, and monitor. Sorry, I'm not wearing a HUD all day. No chance. What we have a now is more comfortable than any possible holograms. Why moving my head, my arms, my legs, when I can interact with the computer just with my hands?

    We need to accept the idea that sometimes mankind reaches the top in a particular field, and you just cannot improve from it. Have we changed the 2K year old Latin alphabet? Not really, just a couple of le

  • That is all.

  • This time a much cooler version

    • I'm not so sure. You didn't need to be wearing stupid goggles to use Bob. But yeah, I made the same connection when I saw this demo: It's Bob, in threeee deeeeeeee! There's even a virtual yellow dog.
  • by Atrox666 ( 957601 ) on Thursday April 30, 2015 @03:05PM (#49588357)

    All I can think of is an irritating holographic paperclip..stalking me.

  • Reality catches up. I had a nightmare once, where Microsoft Clippy and Bob were following me around.

  • Invent Holoemitters.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.