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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes Pokémon Go is good for HoloLens

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Nintendo’s Pokémon Go app has certainly made a huge splash in the mobile gaming market since its debut last week, earning the company around $14 million in just a short number of days. Topics regarding the app have spanned from locating a real dead body, to the Holocaust Museum in Washington kicking out players. Even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seems to have a reignited Pokémon interest, saying that Nintendo’s success is his success too.

Wait. What? According to the Microsoft CEO, that’s because Pokémon Go depends on augmented reality. If you have yet to play the game (shame shame), it uses the camera of a smartphone or tablet to impose 3D renderings of Pokémon into real space on the device’s screen. It’s ingenious, seemingly providing players with a real-life Pokédex, forcing them outside to capture the virtual pocket monsters. It falls within Nintendo’s scheme on the 3DS to get players up and moving to collect special coins and play the bundled AR games.

Microsoft’s un-tethered HoloLens headset is based on augmented reality, too. Although a consumer version has yet to be announced, the current kit for developers and businesses project polygons into the wearer’s field of view. As just reported, Japan Airlines is using the device to train mechanics as well as flight crew trainees shooting for the co-pilot position. The headset eliminates the need for paper documents, movies, and access to real engine parts.

“I think it’s fantastic to see these augmented reality applications getting built, because the best thing that can happen when you’re creating a new category is for applications that are these killer apps, whether it be game or in the industrial scenario, to get invested in,” Nadella said.

He hopes the Pokémon Go craze will translate into a lot of interest in the augmented reality field, including HoloLens. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to have its sights only glued on the industrial segment for now.

“To me, industrial scenarios – whether it be education, training, manufacturing, architecture, or industrial design – they’re going to be fundamentally changed by augmented reality,” he said “So it’s the ultimate computing paradigm, and I’m happy for Pokémon, but I’m happy for even these industrial applications.”

GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, seated next to Nadella, chimed in during the interview, saying that his company is “quite keen” on Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. Microsoft isn’t the only company producing an augmented reality headset, he pointed out, but the HoloLens solution is “quite advanced.”

Immelt admitted that he’s not much of a gamer, but on the industrial side, augmented reality could reduce the cycle time of performing repairs on a refinery or something similar by 10-percent. That time savings could be worth $50 billion dollars. That’ll buy a loke of Poké coins!

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Kevin Parrish
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