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Hololens tech supports augmented reality museum exhibit in Manhattan

Why it matters to you

If you have easy access to Manhattan and want to see how augmented reality is affecting art, this exhibit could be worth a visit.

Augmented reality is coming along in leaps and bounds. From a small segment of digital graffiti in an art gallery, to becoming the focus of its own small virtual museum in another. Microsoft’s Hololens is now letting visitors to the Armory Show in New York experience an augmented reality museum exhibit, entirely hidden from the view of those not wearing the headset.

Microsoft’s Hololens differs from the virtual reality in that it augments reality, rather than replacing it, which means seeing the real world with digital images layered over it. In this case, it’s being used to create a functional “virtual museum,” in a project called “Concrete Storm,” as per Fortune.

Developed in collaboration with Amsterdam, Netherlands-based design team Studio Drift, the exhibition shows off what its creators describe as the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. That sounds like something out of a scene from the 1995 movie Hackers, and by visiting the exhibition itself and donning the headset, you’ll be able to get a good feel for what it actually looks like.

As augmented reality becomes a more commonplace technology, though, the developers of the exhibit and the gallery’s curators hope that this will mean you can view such exhibits from the comfort of your own home in the future.

“It’s early days, but in a commercial context, it’s an exciting new path for the art world and the art market,” says Elena Soboleva, Artsy’s curator for special projects. “You could easily imagine a collector testing artworks out in their living room or someone exploring a museum exhibit thousands of miles away through a mixed reality experience in their home.”

This represents Microsoft’s first official collaboration with a commercial art venture, but it’s unlikely to be the last. Augmented reality has lots of potential and we’ve already seen its viability demonstrated in industries like education, surgery and of course, gaming.

If you’d like to visit the exhibition yourself, it will run until March 5 and is located at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan.