Hello everyone.

We have decided to phase out the Mixed Reality Forums over the next few months in favor of other ways to connect with us.

The first way we want to connect with you is our mixed reality developer program, which you can sign up for at https://aka.ms/IWantMR.

The plan between now and the beginning of May is to clean up old, unanswered questions that are no longer relevant. The forums will remain open and usable.

On May 1st we will be locking the forums to new posts and replies. They will remain available for another three months for the purposes of searching them, and then they will be closed altogether on August 1st.

So, where does that leave our awesome community to ask questions? Well, there are a few places we want to engage with you. For technical questions, please use Stack Overflow, and tag your questions using either hololens or windows-mixed-reality. If you want to join in discussions, please do so in the HoloDevelopers Slack, which you can join by going to https://aka.ms/holodevelopers. And always feel free to hit us up on Twitter @MxdRealityDev.

Are there any plans to give non-HoloLens headsets more aware of their surroundings?

I've just purchased a Samsung Odyssey HMD and am very impressed with the work that Microsoft has put into Windows Mixed Reality. Navigation and use in the Cliff House is relatively intuitive and remarkably quick to learn, and the immersion is outstanding. I look forward to working with Mixed Reality as this technology matures and improves.

It's somewhat ironic, however, that the quality and totality of the immersive experience yields what for me is the single biggest obstacle to comfortably working in WMR... the complete separation from one's environment. As nice as this immersive interface is, there is still value in being able track key items in your real surroundings, such as your keyboard and mouse, the corners of your desk, or that piping-hot extra-large "double-half-caff mocha latte" that's sitting nearby.

Given the inside-out design of WMR devices, I am wondering if it would be possible to allow, at a software level, some mechanism for passing through at least a small amount of key 'reference' information from the real environment into the virtual... perhaps a 'ghosted' (e.g. 90% transparency) view from the HMD cameras, which could be faded in and out as needed, or possibly print-able (or purchased) coded stickers which could be displayed much like boundary dots are now. (For coded stickers, perhaps they could even mapped to virtual counterparts, so that a virtual copy of your real keyboard can be visible.

It seems to me that an enhancement such as this would go a long way towards bringing the non-HoloLens HMDs closer to Augmented Reality, and towards addressing one of the more common complaints I hear about VR HMDs.

Answers

  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    In the interim, while Microsoft looks into comments from the forum, try running a webcam in the Portal, I stuck an old Logitech webcam to my ACER AH100 headset and ran it within Clift House, there are limitations, in your "field of vision" but it is interesting that it can run... and BTW I run this on non certified MR hardware... a Surface Pro 4.

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • New to this forum, but very deep into this very issue, I strongly believe that given all the processing power devoted currently to making the Cliff House "feel real" in the user's world, there should be plenty of power available for tracking and localization of the actual real surroundings, then interfacing these with the various virtual objects being manipulated by the user. MyriadX and further advances in TPU integration should give plenty of processing-reserve for enhancements upon this concept.

  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    @Rotteral I do not disagree with you that there is adequate processing power to run Cliff House and have it track the real surroundings, I just recognize that Microsoft is focusing that area within their HoloLens environment and if we who use the MR headsets want to emulate those features before MS is prepared to provide it, we have to find some acceptable workarounds on our own until the public desire for the feature overrides corporate goals... In actual fact, my experimentation with a webcam on unapproved hardware leads me to believe that a webcam interface could have been incorporated into the original MR spec from inception. A similar is issue is support for graphic drivers on under 2 year old hardware.... Microsoft wants us on Kabylake processors (the new Surface Pro 2017), my Surface Pro 4 (Skylake) is less than 1 year old, my Intel IRIS Graphics 540 is not yet supported for WDDM 2.2 yet I was running all software up to two days ago prior to December 12 using WDDM 2.1

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    @Rcotteral I do not disagree with you that there is adequate processing power to run Cliff House and have it track the real surroundings, I just recognize that Microsoft is focusing that area within their HoloLens environment and if we who use the MR headsets want to emulate those features before MS is prepared to provide it, we have to find some acceptable workarounds on our own until the public desire for the feature overrides corporate goals... In actual fact, my experimentation with a webcam on unapproved hardware leads me to believe that a webcam interface could have been incorporated into the original MR spec from inception. A similar is issue is support for graphic drivers on under 2 year old hardware.... Microsoft wants us on Kabylake processors (the new Surface Pro 2017), my Surface Pro 4 (Skylake) is less than 1 year old, my Intel IRIS Graphics 540 is not yet supported for WDDM 2.2 yet I was running all software up to two days ago prior to December 12 using WDDM 2.1

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • Thorpeca, what would you think about interlacing a 360deg feed (say, from a 360Fly, GoPro Fusion or Omni, Vuze4K, Facebook Precision360LTD system, etc, ranging in cost from $299 to $60,000!)?? So close to a solution, and the price will come down once someone works it out...

    Clearly, work is being done on this subject by FB, & I'm sure as well by MS, Apple, Google, Meta, and others:

    FB's Precision360LTD 360Surround Camera Bundle includes all the camera hardware and a portable PC that you need to put together a high-quality spherical video platform for Facebook's Surround360 open-source system. 17 cameras with wide-angle and fisheye lenses provide full spherical coverage, with the option to render for stereoscopic images in VR applications. The camera connects to the included "Camputer" PC, which is set up to Facebook's specifications. An 8-bay SAS RAID tower is included and pre-stocked with eight 1TB SSDs for storage. High-speed PCI-E connections are made with included fiber-optic links, ensuring fast data transfers.
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1328496-REG/360precision_ltd_360pfb360cam0004_facebook_360surround_camera_with.html

    Crazy, huh? Honestly, the FB system looks like overkill, if you ask me.

  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    @Rcotteral, I have been a certified system professional (training, security & support Windows Linux Unix) in IT since 1996. I have worked and owned PCs since 1983. I understand the environment we are in.;This emerging MR technology, where no one knows where the technology is going, where every idea is being explored... we who are on this forum and others like the Windows Insider, Developers sites and the willingness of the companies to provide us with Developer Editions of hardware & software is the vendors way of developing new products cost effectively by using the enthusiasm and drive of IT enthusiasts without having to pay for the skillsets being used. There is a lot of talent in the field underpaid, underutilized. Other than the large well financed companies, we have restrictions on how much equipment we can acquire to pursue our intellectual interests. For consumer use, the equipment costs have to some down below $500 and be easy to install and maintain. Microsoft is attempting to meet that goal. Take note of where the Oculus & Vive prices were a year ago.

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • Agreed, @thorpeca. This opensource development of AR/MR is very tricky to track, and it's fascinating to see how Google (prev Tango, now ARCore) has now engaged a worldwide audience via mobile devices to do their dev. This is now a very public field, and one that should be moderated and directed PUBLICLY. I think that would allow a better final product and ultimately user experience, in a much shorter time.

  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    @Rcotteral I have been researching the Surface Pro display issues on the internet (going back two years), there are a lot disgruntled customers who have spent a great deal of money on hardware and are finding incompatibility problems... one of the incredible things, I have experienced, is that the MR technology works initially but with subsequent updates, the new program codes seems to be disabling the use of MR programs that worked quite well with minor glitches.... leads one to suspect a deliberate attempt to force hardware upgrades. An upgrade is an unlikely prospect by users who, on review of the last two years, would be reluctant) to throw more money on a product upgrade when the history of support has shown such a lack of reliability. My plan was to buy the Developer Edition of HoloLens but with the delay of the second edition and the history of support over the long term demonstrated so far.... I am wary. I find the Surface Pro 4 I purchased in January 2017 (Icore7, 16GB RAM, SSD 256GB) a really decent product, but support for the Skylake Processor IRIS 540 Graphics Driver Support for WDDM 2.2 an appalling miss-step by Microsoft/Intel. They would generate more loyalty from their customers, if they are seen to be catering support to their customer base over a 3 - 5 year life use particularly as they want us to move to annual update subscription renewal support cost in the future. I am already involved into a MS Office 365 subscription and was beginning to perceive the usefulness of always using up to date software.

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • > @thorpeca said:
    > In the interim, while Microsoft looks into comments from the forum, try running a webcam in the Portal, I stuck an old Logitech webcam to my ACER AH100 headset and ran it within Clift House, there are limitations, in your "field of vision" but it is interesting that it can run... and BTW I run this on non certified MR hardware... a Surface Pro 4.

    Just curious how you view the webcam feed in the cliff house?
  • thorpecathorpeca ✭✭ ✭✭

    @GrantsonUK ….. I use DELL MR controllers while running Cliff House or Mission Control, pressing the Windows Button gives me access to a range of installed supported Apps on my Surface Pro 4. I simply select Camera, choose the camera I want to stream and I can view my surroundings via a Window Screen like you would see using Microsoft Edge or Films & TV etc. It is not the HoloLens field of vision.

    Legacy MCSE SCO ACE CompTIA A+ Network+ Professional.
    Former Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Authorized UNIX & LINUX Trainer, Accountant.

  • @thorpeca
    Thanks I didn't realise the camera app could use external webcams and not just the built in camera on the surface.

    Admittedly never looked at it on my laptop, & only used it once on the surface

    I'll check it out.
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