SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Tuesday paved the way for a future in which long-distance co-workers can collaborate as if they were in the same room, using augmented reality glasses and the power of cloud computing.
The US tech giant launched the Microsoft Mesh platform at its annual Ignite developer conference, which has been a spate event this year due to the pandemic.
“One of the easiest ways to think about it is Microsoft Mesh, which connects the physical and digital worlds, allowing us to transcend the traditional boundaries of space and time,” said co-author Simon Skaria in a video presentation.
Microsoft Tech Fellow Alex Kipman, whose team created the HoloLens augmented reality goggles that’s popular in business, has appeared as a 3D image of the unveiling of Mesh on a virtual platform.
Mesh is powered by Azure cloud computing systems that combine data center processing power with artificial intelligence.
The $ 3,500 Holohedrons headdress is used to overlay digital photos on real-world settings, but the Mesh platform has the ability to sync it with virtual reality devices like Facebook-owned Oculus as well as smartphones, according to Kipman.
Apple, Google, and Facebook are among the tech giants investing in mixed reality.
The presentations showed that Mesh is designed to allow people to collaborate and share holographic experiences in real time regardless of how far apart they are.
“You can actually feel like you are in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different devices to mixed reality and be present with people even when you are not physically together,” Kipman said.
People will initially be able to appear in Mesh experiences as an avatar, but in the future they will be able to view vibrant 3D images of themselves, according to Microsoft.
The pandemic has caused a major shift to work and distance learning, with reliance on cloud computing rather than offices or classrooms expected to remain a part of people’s lives.
Redmond, a Washington-based company, expects developers and external partners to build apps on Mesh, and is working on integrating them into products such as the default collaboration service Teams.
Niantic President John Hanke has pitched Ignite with a conceptual version of the popular Pokémon Go handheld game running on HoloLens.
“The idea of bringing my virtual friends with me as I go out, walk and explore the world – I just love the concept and I’m really interested in seeing what we can do with it, ”Hanke said.