Late last summer (Aug 2014) Microsoft invited a few of us to visit the Microsoft Campus to check out something new they had been cooking up. We knew very little about what we were about to see and if/how it would benefit our customers in the future. During the day they unfolded their HoloLens story and showed us a few examples of how HoloLens could be used in our professional and everyday lives. I must say, I was absolutely blown away and my mind raced with the possibility of designing in true 3D. Let me say that again…True 3D! Today we look at our 2D screens tumbling around and editing 3D objects on fairly small screen compared to our environment. I suddenly I realized how strange it was to view 3D objects on a relatively small, flat screen rather than being able to use my real work environment.
Imagine a world where you could use the infinite space of your office…ok I know your work space isn’t infinite but being able to stick things on walls, place 3D holographic models on your desktops and allow objects to hover in space in my book is near infinite space.
This reality is much closer than many of us likely anticipated and we are excited to be part of it. We kicked off a proof of concept project with Microsoft earlier this year called FreeForm where we would explore how we could leverage this capability to make your lives easier to design, collaborate and sell your products. To fully understand what we could do with HoloLens, we spent several months building dozens of prototypes and tested many scenarios to understand how you could benefit most from a mixed reality environment. We explored ways to make work areas have infinite space by using walls and open areas overlaid with holographic objects. We explored how users could collaborate together by looking at the same holographic model and being able to walk around it and discuss various aspects of the design as if it were really sitting on their table. We explored the possibilities of creating and editing directly from a holographic model, as well as pitching a final design to an executive team or a customer.
Early concepts for Microsoft HoloLens + Fusion 360 integration.
We have made great progress and have learned a lot this year. We have built an interactive experience we will be showing to several hundred customers at Autodesk University (AU2015) this week to let them experience how an Industrial Designer and Mechanical Engineer could collaborate in a much more meaningful way with Hololens. We look forward to talking to many of these customers at AU and hope to learn more around how they would like to use this technology in the future.
For now, the joint HoloLens and Fusion 360 project is still in development. We see this technology change how many people design, collaborate and sell their products in the future and we are excited to help bring that to many of our designers and engineers in the near future.
Watch the video here: