The reaction to Microsoft’s sudden entry into the wearable AR technology arena has varied from elation and wonder to outright cynicism. No doubt fuelled by the slightly over polished nature of the promotional mockup videos some are suggesting that much of the content is speculation.
We have of course been here before with the great promise of the Kinect “Milo & Kate” demo back when Kinect was called Project Natal. Before we started to feel an always-on camera in the living room might be just a little invasive.
Some may also remember a little gem called Ilumiroom which has so far remained a research project.
My feeling is more one of cautious optimism. The videos had to be good enough to convey the excitement and immersion that their technology will bring. If they’ve used a little (ok, perhaps a lot) artistic licence to convince the mass market that Augmented Reality is the future of computing then we may have to forgive them.
Technically they don’t appear to be doing anything radically different from other players in the field. Comparing their feature set with that of the Meta glasses or Magic Leap, nothing MS are doing stands out as revolutionary.
The Microsoft name however is undoubtedly bringing augmented reality further into the mainstream. Some are even suggesting that the purchase of Minecraft was all about drafting in a whole new generation of Windows users with the prospect of building castles on your coffee table.
All of which has to be good news for us as content creators. All of the skills we use across mobile AR stand us in great stead for the moment when the holographic interface truly becomes part of everyday computing.