This is Microsoft support of a different kind. The American infotech giant’s HoloLens, said to be the first fully untethered holographic computer for mixed-reality applications, has seen some action in the automotive industry and demonstrated the potential uses of melding the physical world with the virtual one.
This wearable technology can be deployed in car companies’ R&D department and on their factory floor to assist engineers and assembly workers respectively.
Designers in Ford’s Dearborn studios, for instance, have worn HoloLens headsets embedded with the Windows 10 operating system to visualise styling elements in 3D holographic images, which are projected onto an actual vehicle or a clay mockup. They could also explore different shapes, sizes, textures and even backdrops for the exterior and interior of models in the works.
It’s a high-tech show-and-tell that saves development time, allows easier experimentation and enables closer collaboration across multiple workgroups, which do not need to be in the same office or country.
Volkswagen is another automaker using Microsoft’s mixed-reality goggles as a tool for technical projects. With a 1:4 scale model of a Golf, for example, VW engineers could use gestures and voice commands to change the equipment of the virtual vehicle and design new components virtually, and see the results immediately.
Mixed reality can also help the sales and marketing of new models. BMW created the X2 Holo Experience for people to “try” the newly launched SUV in an interestingly interactive way that weaves physical objects and digital content together. The immersive experience ends with a holographic selfie for the user to post on his or her social media network – something like hologram to Instagram, where seeing is believing.