HoloLens finds its true consumer home in Japanese temple

Microsoft’s HoloLens, of course, has a massive role in enterprise in making the invisible visible and surfacing data exactly when and where needed, but we have long argued that for consumers the perfect role would be as part of a museum guide, enhancing the experience with additional sights, sounds and information without obscuring your view of the actual valuable artifacts you have come to see.

Now it seems at least one museum in Japan has taken up the idea.  The Kenninji temple in Kyoto will be using the Microsoft HoloLens to enhance the experience of visits when viewing the 400-year-old Fujin Raijin-zu (The picture of wind and thunder gods) folding screen by the end of the year.

The national treasure will feature realistic 3D imagery developed by the Hakuhodo group in partnership with Microsoft. The images would include clouds spread under the deities in the painting and thunderstorms hit the ground below (illustrated above).

The footage, along with voice guidance provided by the system, will last three to five minutes. Viewers would feel as if they can reach out and grasp the clouds and rain.

“We want people to realize the attraction of old things in a new way,” said Kazuhiro Suda, executive creative director of advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc.

Officials said the exhibition would be the first time Mixed Reality is used in this way, which is a pity given the headsets appear custom-made for such an experience.

In my view, every museum with an audio tour should also offer a rentable Mixed Reality tour, and hopefully, we will see a wider uptake of the technology to give more regular consumers access to Mixed Reality experiences, though processor supply issues may raise some concern about the availability of headsets in the near future.

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