UPDATED 23:17 EDT / AUGUST 16 2016


Microsoft-Intel ‘mixed reality’ partnership will be more than interesting

Mixed reality, merged reality, augmented reality. Everyone is talking about it, not least because a game called Pokémon Go seemed to render the abbreviation AR (augmented reality) mainstream.

But lest we forget, a long time before Pikachu started rearing his cute head from the Empire State building all the way to Trafalgar Square, Microsoft had been trying to sell us on the budding concept of AR for quite some time in the form of its headset HoloLens.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella has gone on the record a few times talking about Microsoft’s vision, how HoloLens is the future, and how even Pokémon Go impressed him. The same subject was recently taken up by Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, at this week’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Myerson announced two things related to AR. The first was that Microsoft is partnering with Intel Corp.  – a company that is presently heavily focused on AR and VR – to create mixed reality ready PCs and head mounted displays (HMDs).

“Our shared goal is to enable our hardware partners to build a broad range of devices for the mainstream consumer and business markets,” said Myerson, adding, “We are working with several partners on the spec today, and plan to publicly release v1 of the spec at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) conference in Shenzhen in December.”

Next, Myerson said that Microsoft will be releasing an update to Windows 10 that will enable regular PCs to run the Windows Holographic shell  – demoed below.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also waxed about “merged reality,’ the medium in which you can immerse yourself in the “digitized splendor of Michelangelo” without cracking your kneecap on a table leg. “The virtual world doesn’t need to be virtual; it can be real,” said Krzanich, introducing Project Alloy, a mixed reality toy whose intent is to better merge physical and virtual space.

And if you’re interested in seeing what games played on HoloLens might look like, one developer using an NES emulator gave us a demo recently of Super Mario being played merged with someone’s bedroom, while a team in Holland gave us a glimpse of what Pokémon Go might look like played with the AR unit.

Photo credit: Intel (Project Alloy)

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