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Sebastian Scholl

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Who else from the 90’s would have thought that in 2016 Pokemon would once again become relevant? If you don’t know this reference, hop on Google and learn exactly how Nintendo became $6-billion more valuable in the past week. The Pokemon Go app is an AR (augmented reality) game that’s spreading like wildfire. And it is really, really cool.

I’ve written several articles on (VR) virtual reality. You may be wondering what the difference is. Well, VR is full immersion. You are transported to a different world when putting on a head mounted display for VR. AR, on the other hand, allows you to create virtual entities that can be placed into, and interact with, the real world. Imagine holograms that are interactive, spatially aware, and infinitely manipulable living in the world around us. Mixed-reality is another term that is being used to communicate this.

With a smart phone you can experience AR. Whether that’s by playing Pokemon Go to throw Pokeballs down the street, or even Snapchat face filters, both are good examples of AR. Though as more sophisticated hardware’s get released, stories that most people would still categorize under science-fiction have become non-fiction.

Microsoft has started sending out their Hololens, selectively. The banner picture of this article may look like an idea of the future. It’s actually a reality of the present. Developers for the Hololens are able to develop interactive holograms using several required plugins for Unity3D, Visual Studio. One of the plugins for Visual Studio is a Hololens emulator, allowing people to start moving forward with content development before ever getting their hands on the hardware. With Hololens running $3,000 a pair and requiring that you must apply and be approved to purchase, for now I’ll be spending a lot of time with the emulator…

If you’re interested in developing, a PC running Windows 10 that meets specific hardware requirements is necessary. Microsoft has put together a very solid documentation that walks through the needed set up and instillation. From that point, as is done when learning any new stack or framework, it’s Hello World! time. When dealing with AR/VR, that milestone has transitioned into Hello Cube.

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This shows the Hololens Emulator running on my PC and a hologram cube I created by following this Hologram_101 tutorial. How amazingly dull, right? Yes. There’s most definitely a learning curve. Having a bit of experience with Unity3D will give a leg up. However, cube by cube, the world as we see it… doesn’t really have to be that way.

Take two minutes to watch this video. And imagine.

 

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