Future of 3D Design Microsoft’s HoloLens
Holograms are another instance of a technology that appeared on the movie (though it was more Next Generation material, honestly), and it is one piece of tech that companies have continually tried to develop for at least 30 years, with little success. Oculus Rift and augmented reality combined with Google Glass are about the closest anyone has come to bringing holograms into our world.
The brains behind Microsoft’s Kinect have developed a new platform that might bring a simulated reality into both our workplace and living rooms. The new system is called HoloLens, and it takes the shape of a pair of goggles rather than a holo suite (one step at a time). Unlike Oculus Rift, HoloLens doesn’t attempt to trick your brain into thinking it’s someplace else, rather it uses augmented reality (AR) to overlay holograms into your everyday space. For everyday usage, adding holograms to work would be useful for everyone from mechanics to brain surgeons. Teachers could find numerous ways to leverage holographic technology at every level of education. No doubt, the entertainment industry might find ways to use the technology for video games or to augment movie night as well. All of that is cool, but this is Rapid Ready, where 3D printing is king. Why do we care about the HoloLens? You guessed it (maybe the headline was a hint). HoloLens offers new opportunities for 3D design. Rather than sketching 3D images on a 2D surface, with the HoloLens, designers and engineers could design and develop 3D parts in 3D.
Microsoft also realizes how much potential for design the new platform offers, and has included instances of 3D design in its demos and video marketing. It wouldn’t be surprising if the HoloLens shipped with 3D design software included, with haptic feedback tools already in the pipeline for development. Add a pair of haptic gloves to the HoloLens and suddenly you have the ability to mould new parts in 3D without using a mouse or stylus.
The possibilities of HoloLens for engineering design
Design. The design opportunities that HoloLens presents are exciting. Design engineers will be able to go beyond traditional 3D presented on a monitor and controlled via mouse or touch, to immersive 3D in the real world using gestures and voice. Holograms allow you to visualize how something will look in the physical world with the benefit of 3D editing and authoring capabilities, mimicking how you would interact with something in real life.
Imagine creating a physical mock-up or prototype using foam, clay and other mediums for modeling: this is what design will be like with HoloLens, but with more tools and fewer constraints than the real world. You can then share those holograms and collaborate remotely, and excitingly, even turn them into physical objects with HoloStudio’s 3D print compatibility.
Fix. Think of the possibilities for field service and repair of products and machines. Being able to be in an actual situation—standing next to an aircraft or vehicle—and have your digital instructions pinned as holograms in the air around you or a 3D animation within the actual physical context right in front of you. Or go beyond that and bring in a remote colleague or advisor with HoloNotes in Skype and let them see your environment from their tablet or PC to troubleshoot and collaborate on a repair on the spot. They can draw instructions that appear as animations in your world, helping walk you through a new process.
Simulate. New ways to learn is another powerful capability of HoloLens. In both design and field service training scenarios, learning comes alive when you can visualize and examine in 3D, within the actual environment, how a product works, the types of different inspections performed on a product or each of the individual tests required to meet product safety standards. What’s more, you could simulate an unsafe or hazardous environment to practice what you’d do in that situation.