The Holographic Catch 22 ….

Having had my hands on a Mixed Reality Headset for a couple of weeks now I would not be without it.  But, having just been “awed once again” I realise the platforms’ single greatest danger ….  quite simply it’s got an in built “Catch 22” that puts me in mind of the first time I saw the Grand Canyon – quite simply I realised that I had not experienced anything like it before – those distances – that space – and …. I knew I could not do it justice with my words or photographs – I had to tell people just go and see it.

So while I am not suggesting that Mixed Reality is comparable in any shape or form to the Grand Canyon – it is one of those “new experiences” that you really have to see for yourself.  So the catch 22?

1. You have to live with it for a while (to really appreciate it)

2. You have to buy one in order to live with it for a while!

 

So how are the manufacturers going to overcome this?

It’s not going to be easy.

As an example I was just looking at some of the animated holograms that come with the holographic App – they are great fun – this morning I created a Burger that was around 30 feet across, I walked right up to it, started the animation and the bun and contents jumped up and down.  Now when you feel like you are in the room, up close, with a 30 foot jumping burger it is an experience that you will not have experienced before and it really is one that you should experience! ( No the screen captures and videos just don’t do it justice)

Maybe this post and others like it might combine to make you go out and get a mixed reality headset … I hope so.

Developing with 3Glasses Mixed Reality Headset (2) – Mixed Reality Installation / Setup

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The 3Glasses fully support the Windows Mixed Reality setup which guides you through the following screens:

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It’s a very sleek and professional setup which flagged the graphics card on my aging setup as a weak point then promptly allowed me to continue (see this post for details of the dated budget hardware I am using).

When the setup is completed (it is a relatively quick and painless process) you are left in what can only be described as a high end / desirable  “virtual home” with options to add your own holograms to the environemtn, run any “traditional” Windows Store Apps (placing and resizing them anywhere in the home environment) or indeed run one of the dedicated VR Apps from the store.  I have also heard that these headsets will support Steam VR but I have not tried that as yet..

So anyone who has tried Hololens will be immediately comfortable with the functionality available with the exception that the surroundings are not your own!

The first thing I thought to do was to fire up one of my own apps – “Vantage Point” and place it on one of the spaces in front of me.  The video below shows the app in place and functioning – I added another instance “downstairs” and was able to switch between the two apps – both functioning perfectly – very nice!

So all in all a short post with the pictures telling the installation and setup story.

Next post I will look at the functionality and aesthetics,

Developing with 3Glasses Mixed Reality Headset (1)–”VRShow” installation

This Microsoft approved Mixed Reality headset hails from China and differs slightly from the others in also appearing to support a cross platform runtime for VR.

Although I plan on doing development through Visual Studio 10 the 3Glasses web site invites prospective developers to sign up and download an exe titled VRShow (at the time of writing this is still billed as a beta). Installing got me this warning:

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I promptly continued selecting the “run anyway” option.  I then OK’d the user account control message and selected an English install:

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The installation installs in a number of directories as well as creating a VRShowClient directory in the root file system.  It also installs DirectX if it does not already exist.

What is VRShow?

The manual (available here) describes the VRShow client as follows:

“VRSHOW Client is a VR contents management tool, which is released by VRSHOW Technology Limited. VRSHOW users can use it manage your local resources, update the firmware, and also manage your device to get a better VR experience via VRSHOW Client.
VRSHOW aims to create an one-stop service platform for the VR dreamers from all over the world. It provides hardware、technical support、market instructions、distribution channels and capital support to the VR developers. VRSHOW is a service platform created for VR dreamers ‘to SHOW out the best of their own”

It covers the following main options:

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Loading up the client shows the following screen:

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There doesn’t apear to be an English language version of this screen (I suspect this is simply being rendered from the web site) but the options along the right are in Englash and easy to follow:

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In my next post I will cover my initial reactions to testing the headset and running through firmware upghrade etc.

Windows Mixed Reality Headset–3Glasses Blubur S1 (Type 2) £320 (approx)

Just taken delivery of what is the only available mixed reality headset to anyone in the UK wanting to develop for the platform (the units from Acer, HP etc are only available to developers in the USA).

So this post is not much more than an unboxing but I will follow it up with a review of the hardware and initial development on Windows 10 Creators (which is a requirement to support development on this headset).

It was quite quick to arrive with little trouble getting through customs:
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As seems to be common place with all tech from China it arrived very well packaged with the familiar yellow/brown tape:

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I have to say that the quality of the packaging along with the initial feel of the device is of a very high standard and I am looking forward to going for a spin!

The language translation always amuses me – this is billed as “The first ever virtual reality headset with highest resolution”!

Spec wise it looks similar to the other mixed reality headsets that are finding their way onto the market:

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What’s in the box?

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(Click on each of the above photos for more detail)

Stand by for a more in depth review meanwhile the 3Glasses web site can be found here: www.3glasses.com/en/