News: Five Windows Holographic Mixed Reality Headsets Have Now Been Seen, but Most Have Not Been Touched

Some of the products I have been looking forward to seeing the most during CES 2017 has been the upcoming Windows Holographic virtual reality headsets. These are VR headset that will run a version of the Windows Holographic platform, which will allow users to have a similar experience as the HoloLens with a mixed reality environment. Of the six headsets that could have possibly made it to CES, five had shown up. Unfortunately, most of them are behind glass.

News: Merge VR's Holo Cube—An Augmented Reality Toy That Transforms into Interactive Holograms

Merge VR, a company mostly known for its virtual reality experiences, is moving into and creating an augmented reality experience that combines an iPhone or Android smartphone, a set of goggles to put your phone in, and a box about the size of a Rubik's Cube which looks more akin to the Lament Configuration seen in the Hellraiser film series. When used in concert with the smartphone and goggles, the toy cube, called Holo Cube, becomes one of many AR experiences.

News: Finally, Someone Is Fixing the Major Issues with Texture Compression

We live in a computer world full of file formats. Whether we are talking about images, videos, or text documents, there are dozens of file types for each, and there are new ones added every year to applications. Keeping in mind that many of these formats were created before the internet was widely available (at least, in infant form), the primary reason for this glut of often complex choices is competition.

Video: AfterNow Makes Smart Home Lighting Change Colors with the HoloLens

These days, if you walk through Best Buy, you will see an entire area designated to smart home technology. Thanks to the interest and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), this exciting new technology has finally entered the mainstream. Appliances, thermostats, and even the lighting throughout your house can be controlled from your computer or smartphone. You could also use artificial intelligence; Simply tell Amazon's Alexa what you want your house to do, and she will do it.

News: 3D Modeling Comes to Mixed Reality on the HoloLens with Verto Studio 3D

3D modeling is usually a very long and complicated process. Manipulating the thousands to millions of vertices, faces, and triangles to the correct shape you want is just the first part of the process, and can take a good while depending on the level of detail needed. From there, you need to texture the model by applying the UV coordinates and placing the textures in the correct places. And all of this isn't even including the process of creating normal maps.

Video: Automate a Camera's Path with the HoloLens and VroomCam

Every day the young world of mixed reality is creating new ways for people to work with with computers. We are looking for, and finding, new ways for these head-worn computers to understand what we tell them. Sometimes it is with our hands, sometimes it is where we turn our head, sometimes it is what we say. In the case highlighted below, it's where we walk.

News: Okularion—Untethered Augmented Reality at Under $300

Last week, a new Kickstarter campaign arrived for a completely untethered, augmented reality headset for under $300 called Okularion. While at first glance, this unit looks very much like a Samsung Gear VR, one thing that sets it apart (aside from being untethered from a nearby computer) is that it does not require a smartphone. Well, that and it's an augmented reality headset as well.

News: HoloSuit Proof of Concept Uses Full Body Motion to Control the HoloLens

Here at NextReality, we talk a lot about the many different ways of controlling holograms in the HoloLens and other augmented and mixed reality devices; New and creative ways are coming more and more every day. Most recently is something called the HoloSuit. In the 25-second clip below, you can see a woman moving the arm of a jacket which in turn moves a 3D model of Darth Vader on the screen. It's a simple idea with big potential.

Breaking: The Meta 2 Augmented Reality Headset Is Shipping

The Meta 2 developer kit has finally begun shipping! Gary Garcia, the senior director of customer success at Meta, just sent out an email that they are shipping out to the first round of preorder customers. Waves will be building from there, up to far higher manufacturing rates near the end of Q1 of 2017.

Video: Haptics Make Holograms Touchable on the HoloLens

Imagine wearing your HoloLens, then reaching out to touch a hologram and actually feeling it. Mind blown, right?! Now imagine that same hologram responding to your touch. I don't mean in the way holograms currently respond to an air tap, but a much more refined and precise touch. Maybe you touch a character on the shoulder and it turns around to see you, or maybe you hit a button in the air and it reacts accordingly.

News: Samsung Announces They're Entering the AR Field

This week, Dr. Sung-Hoon Hong, Vice President of Samsung Electronics, announced at the Virtual Reality Summit in San Diego that not only does Samsung have a new virtual reality headset coming, but that Samsung intends to enter the field of augmented reality, too. In fact, Hong talked very little about virtual reality and instead spoke at length about Samsung's move into augmented reality.

News: Unity Releases EditorVR Experimental Build Days After Unity 5.6 Beta

Unity released the Beta 5.6 on December 13 with a bunch of new upgrades in the works, including support for Vulkan, better instancing options, and more improvements to particles—to name just a few that are potentially relevant to the mixed reality community. And today, December 15, Unity has just released the EditorVR that we reported on a few weeks ago as a part of their "Experimental" builds.

News: Smart Home Proof of Concept Controls an Air Conditioner with the HoloLens

Empea Berlin, a Germany-based company specializing in augmented, mixed, and virtual reality software, has released a video on Facebook showing off their experiments in smart home technology. Using a Raspberry Pi and a HoloLens unit, they were able to make a virtual remote control for an air conditioning unit. The remote is complete with various modes, temperature controls, timers, and other features.

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