Microsoft has explained how it intends to give a further push to augmented reality, the technology to put virtual elements in “real life” with its new Mesh platform.
Microsoft Mesh is a new platform that uses augmented reality and virtual reality to create virtual encounters, in which participants feel that they are in the same place, despite their bodies being miles apart.
Basically, it is like Microsoft Teams, but if we could see our co-workers next to us as if we were in an office or a real room. Indeed, Microsoft has brought to life one of the most common scenes in science fiction movies — meetings of people who are not really there but use a realistic virtual avatar.
The demonstrations of the many possibilities this technology offers are certainly surprising, and Microsoft has teamed up with big names, such as director James Cameron, to fuel the excitement.
For example, one of the demos showed what Pokémon Go would look like in Microsoft Mesh augmented reality — Pikachu and other Pokémon can appear around us, and we can interact with them as if they were real pets.
Another demonstration shows several employees working on the same project at the home of one of them, a possible glimpse of what telecommuting could be of the future. Here we also see the customization possibilities and how we could vary our virtual avatar. One of the users uses cameras and 3D sensors to capture his entire body and appear in the room, while another has created a character. Microsoft clarifies that this is its “hope”, implying that, for the moment, it is not so easy.
An important detail of Mesh is that Microsoft only offers the platform based on the Azure cloud so that other developers can explore its possibilities. This implies that, although users wear Hololens glasses in the videos, in theory, this is not a hardware or software project, but cloud services.
In fact, Microsoft affirms that Mesh can be used in Hololens as well as in virtual reality glasses, phones, tablets, and even computers; however, the developer trial version is initially available for the Hololens.
Although it may seem that most of the Mesh presentation is unrealistic, Microsoft has been clear that the demos are not for consumer use but rather serve as a “glimpse into the future” of this technology. They even claim that this is just the beginning and that augmented reality can “change the lives” of many people.