As expected Microsoft announced that today the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is available for pre-order.
With HoloLens, Microsoft is committed to providing the development community with the best experience possible. The Development Edition comes with a complete set of documentation provided to developers both by the people who have created the platform and by the people who have been building holographic experiences. Microsoft also provided a host of tutorial videos to help people along. All of the documentation and videos can be found at dev.windows.com/holographic.
Microsoft is also providing information on how to create holographic apps as Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and also a free sample portfolio of holographic experiences for people to enjoy.
These experiences are available to all developers at no cost in the Windows Store and represent the development knowledge and expertise Microsodt’s teams have acquired over years of working on this holographic platform. Each of these experiences have been delivered to highlight unique capabilities of HoloLens and to illustrate for developers how they can be used in every day applications and are intended as a jumping off point for how any developer can create amazing 3D content for HoloLens.
The first sample app is HoloStudio. It allows people to easily create 3D in 3D – at real-world scale. HoloStudio also shows how to use the HoloLens interaction model of gaze, gesture, and voice. HoloStudio also allows for integration with OneDrive, and easily exports to 3D print or Sketchfab.
The Development Edition also runs Skype enhanced to allow people to communicate using holograms. Skype on HoloLens allows people running Skype on any Windows device to interact in the holographic world. This application will show how holograms can be used for remote collaboration and training in a way previously impossible. Secondly, it will allow developers to communicate with each other using the holographic medium to share development methods and seek the advice of others. With Skype, you can see the holograms the other person is seeing and you can use holograms to illustrate helpful techniques or development approaches. Skype on the Development Edition will allow all to stay connected and help each other build holographic applications.
The 3rd app is HoloTour, which allows people to transport to a different location and experience it like they are really there. You see high-resolution 360-degree panoramic displays of places like Rome and Machu Picchu. HoloTour highlights two unique capabilities of HoloLens. Being untethered, HoloLens allows you to enjoy a virtual trip by actually walking around the location. While immersive, the experience still embraces mixed reality, as it allows you to physically walk around spaces and get up close to objects while remaining untethered from a PC, phone or other device. HoloTour is also a showcase for the spatial sound capabilities of this platform. When you are walking around Rome, the sounds of the city surround you – just like you were actually there.
The the HoloLens Development Edition also includes 3 unique examples of mixed reality games that demonstrate the elements of holographic gameplay that no other platform can deliver. Read about them in detail here.
Finally, starting this summer, developers will be able to experience a completely new holographic storytelling medium for the Development Edition that Microsoft call Actiongram. This experience was designed for creative coders and content creators, providing what we think is the most amazing way to tell digital stories that might otherwise be impractical or impossible. Actiongram uses mixed reality capture (MRC) to blend holographic content into real world settings, allowing anybody to create emotionally compelling and humorous videos. Microsoft will be delivering new content for Actiongram regularly so that users can continually express themselves in the holographic medium.
Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition starts shipping in the US and Canada on March 30th at a price of $3,000. Additional development tools that include Visual Studio projects and a HoloLens emulator will be released when HoloLens devices start shipping to customers on March 30. The emulator will allow developers to test holographic apps on their PC without a physical HoloLens and comes with a HoloLens development toolset.