As 2016 saw the rise to prominence of Virtual Reality, 2017 is going to see a shift into the technological frontier of Augmented and Mixed reality, adding an additional layer by anchoring immersive experiences in real life.
Recent high profile VR releases such as Samsung’s Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have provided opportunities to bring immersive gaming, storytelling and entertainment experiences into people’s homes. Google have even managed to bring genuine scale to this, especially in recent weeks with their Google Cardboard Abbey Road experience. However, these experiences are all currently limited to an alternate – virtual – world.
AOL/Microsoft’s creative technology team – whose overall remit is to ‘bring ideas to life through technology’ – came in to demonstrate their latest flagship Mixed Reality product, succinctly named HoloLens. This brings a real edge of science fiction to the party, using depth trackers, holographics and other cutting edge tech to understand the user’s current environment and enable them to manipulate what is seen through a set of simple gestures.
While currently out of many consumers’ price range, you can really see the excitement that stepping into a real-life Minority Report situation holds by the number of people desperate to try the headset out.
Currently, gaming is the easy win – showcased in the room with a modern take on Space Invaders, but as it stands there’s huge commercial and consumer scope for the product over the coming years.
I, for one, can’t wait for the opportunity to take my second screening to the max!