Mi­crosoft is bet­ting heav­ily on a mixed re­al­ity fu­ture

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Think Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity (for­merly Win­dows Holo­graphic) and the HoloLens is prob­a­bly the first de­vice (maybe only?) that comes to mind.

But that won’t be the case soon. Sev­eral lead­ing third-party hard­ware mak­ers are al­ready on­board the am­bi­tious Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity plat­form, which ac­tu­ally cov­ers the whole spec­trum from aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) to mixed re­al­ity (MR) to vir­tual re­al­ity (VR), and any­thing in be­tween.

Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Len­ovo, and 3Glasses are some of the ven­dors that Mi­crosoft pre­vi­ously said would be ship­ping head­sets ca­pa­ble of mixed re­al­ity. De­signed to work with af­ford­able PCs and lap­tops, prices for these head­sets start at US$299. Amongst them, the Acer Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity De­vel­op­ment Edi­tion head­set has al­ready started ship­ping to de­vel­op­ers. Like the other in­ex­pen­sive MR head­sets, Acer’s head­set touts built-in in­side-out track­ing, which means there’s no need to pur­chase or in­stall ex­ter­nal track­ers or sen­sors in the wall.

But what’s good of a mixed re­al­ity head­set if it doesn’t come with a good con­troller? Pre­vi­ous demos and hands-ons had the Acer head­set paired with an Xbox con­troller, which was clearly not ideal. Mi­crosoft knows that of course, and at Build it has an­nounced the first Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity mo­tion con­trollers. Like the VR con­trollers you get with the HTC Vive, these MR con­trollers sup­port six de­grees of free­dom (6DOF). They also sup­port in­side-out track­ing us­ing the sen­sors in the head­set, so no ex­ter­nal mark­ers are needed.

Mi­crosoft’s hard­ware part­ners will be sell­ing these con­trollers this com­ing hol­i­day pe­riod, pre­sum­ably with their own head­sets. Acer, for ex­am­ple, will be sell­ing a head­set and con­troller bun­dle at a price of US$399.

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