Mixed Reality (MR) refers environments that blend digital content with physical space. Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality (AR) are terms that are often used interchangeably, though we try to use MR to describe environments where digital models are actively affected by their physical environment as opposed to merely overlaid within a users field of view. Some examples of MR include when digital models are fixed in a particular place in a physical space (such as on a desk, construction site or physical tool), or when physical objects occlude the rendering of digital models, creating the illusion that the digital object has been hidden behind something real. Fologram provides a kit of tracking tools that allow designers to further affect digital models with their physical gestures, movement of devices, scans of physical environments and QR codes and more.
How does the HoloLens position models in space?
The HoloLens 1 and HoloLens 2 use inside-out tracking to calculate the changes in the position of your headset as you move around in your physical environment. Inside-out tracking works by using the four grey-scale cameras on the HoloLens to observe features (points of high contrast) in your environment, and triangulates the position of your head by determining the offset of these features in each camera. This position is combined with data from the inertial motion unit (IMU) that provides accurate measurements of the roll, pitch and yaw of the headset.
What is Mixed Reality really good for on the HoloLens?
The HoloLens state of the art capacity to precisely "anchor" digital content in physical space creates incredible opportunities for working in mixed reality. Three excellent examples include include tasks, jobs and projects that require:
1. Information to be in a physical context to be easily understood (such as instructions, guides and training material)
2. Positioning or orientation of objects in 3D space (such as most construction or assembly tasks)
3. Collaboration and communication between experts and laypeople (as mixed reality presents information intuitively and unambiguously)
This is just a few examples of what the HoloLens is particularly good at. It is also a fantastic platform for experimentation as designers, makers and tinkerers begin to think about how we can leave our 2D interfaces and begin working within 3D mixed reality environments and with natural user interfaces.