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Microsoft celebrates its mixed reality successes on HoloLens' first bithday

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Mixed reality solutions are getting closer to reality than ever on the first anniversary of HoloLens' initial release.

Microsoft’s HoloLens strategy might be a little uncertain at this point, particularly given recent word that the company’s next version of its mixed reality solution won’t arrive until 2019 at the earliest. But, that is not stopping the company from wishing HoloLens a happy first birthday.

Along with simply getting excited about HoloLens being around for another year, Microsoft also took the opportunity to highlight some of the platform’s accomplishments over the last 12 months. As the company outlined in its blog post on the topic, developer support for mixed reality apps and continued advancement of the hardware platform are the two most important advancements.

In terms of app support, Microsoft pointed out that over 150 exclusive mixed reality apps are available for the HoloLens platform in the Windows Store. That should continue to expand, given that Windows Holographic, the HoloLens software platform, will be getting a brand new ecosystem of MR hardware headlined by lower-cost headsets from Microsoft’s OEM partners.

The company took a few moments to highlight some of the ideas created by the HoloLens community. HoloGuide, for example, is an MR app that allows users to move safely through low-visibility environments and avoid obstacles thanks to the environmental awareness and spatial sound that HoloLens enables.

HoloHear is another HoloLens solution that offers promise, specifically to act as a real-time speech-to-sign language translation tool for the deaf. And Teomirn helps students learn to play the piano by overlaying holographic instructions on the piano keyboard.

HoloLens has also made headway in terms of commercial applications. Companies such as Lowe’s, Legendary Entertainment, and Stryker, along with organizations like NASA, are using HoloLens in ways that make a real impact on their bottom lines.

Microsoft plans to talk more about HoloLens and mixed reality at the upcoming Build 2017 event in May. In the meantime, Windows 10 Creators Update is also slated to arrive soon, ushering in even more support for Microsoft’s mixed reality vision.