Microsoft HoloLens used to provide virtual tour of Seattle’s 2+U high-rise project

Studio 216 with HoloLens
Studio 216 has teamed up with Skanska USA and Microsoft to create the very first Holographic Real Estate Sales Center. This new center uses Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset so that customers can go on a multiuser guided holographic tour of a project without yanking them from their current environment, as the Oculus Rift would do. Skanska’s office in Seattle is the first to create such a center for its 2+U development project for the downtown area.

According to Studio 216, the 2+U Holographic Real Estate Sales Center provides a tour that includes the interior and exterior of the proposed high-rise building, and the surrounding Seattle-based neighborhood.  The tour also provides a first-person perspective and a You Are Here-type floating marker so that the tourist knows exactly where he or she is at any given moment.

Studio 216 is one of many companies that are participating in the Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness program, which provides members with early access to “mixed reality” technology. Thus, Studio 216 is currently creating projects based on both virtual and mixed reality technology for a number of its clients in addition to the sales center for Skanska USA.

Kyle Riesenbeck, the Technical Lead for the 2+U Holographic project, says that developing for HoloLens is a lot like developing for VR headsets. However, in the case of VR, developers must create both the environment and the content. But for augmented reality, developers must figure out a way for content to exist within the real world. This content must also enhance the user’s real life experience “in a unique and necessary way.”

Related Offer: See here for Samsung’s latest virtual reality headset, Gear VR

Overall, there are seven companies listed in the Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness Program. 8ninths is another participant, which has created a “Holographic Workstation” prototype based on HoloLens. Designed and engineered for Citi, this workstation generates 3D holograms of real-time financial data so traders can view, process, and interact with data without having to jump into an immersive virtual environment. This workstation includes gaze/gesture/voice-based input, holographic docking space, tablet screen space, and more.

Microsoft began shipping the HoloLens Development Kit to developers last week during BUILD 2016. Pre-orders for the kit opened up at the end of February in the US and Canada, costing a hefty $3,000. And now that the kit is shipping, developers have access to tools such as a HoloLens emulator and Visual Studio projects. HoloLens is based on Windows 10 and will support the Anniversary Update upgrade when it’s released sometime this summer.

“With HoloLens you can create and shape holograms with gestures, communicate with apps using your voice, and navigate with a glance,” Microsoft’s Alex Kipman said in February. “HoloLens understands your gestures, gaze, and voice, enabling you to interact in the most natural way possible. With spatial sound, HoloLens allows you to hear holograms from anywhere in the room, even if they are behind you.”

By using HoloLens to allow customers to personally visit the 2+U high-rise project, both the salesperson and the client can stand back and allow the design for downtown Seattle to take “center stage.” Boaz Ashkenazy, founding partner and CMO of Studio 216, said that partnering with Skanska USA was definitely a “unique opportunity” for the company.

The 2+U Holographic Real Estate Sales Center will reportedly open its doors in July. The 2+U project itself, which is slated for Second Avenue and University Street in the downtown area, isn’t scheduled to be complete until early 2019.


Best Father’s Day sales: Apple iPad, Ring security, and 4K TV deals

Father's Day sales started early, but now retail titans Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy have turned up the heat. We found outstanding sales on top electronics with free, fast shipping in all categories and cherry-picked the best deals.

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is $60 off on Amazon For Father’s Day

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift for Dad? Amazon is holding a great sale on Apple's Series 4 watch. Be sure to check out all of the details here.

Upgrade your glass with rebates of up to $150 on these Sigma lenses

Eyeing some bright primes or versatile zooms? Sigma's Father's Day sale discounts 11 lenses and a mount converter, with rebates as high as $150. The Sigma lens deals include lenses from the company's popular Art Series.

Minecraft AR teased during Microsoft Build 2019, full reveal arrives on May 17

At the Vision Keynote during the first day of Microsoft Build 2019, we saw a short trailer of what looks to be Minecraft AR, an upcoming experience coming to mobile devices. Watch the video here and join us for the full reveal on May 17.

As AR heads to Google search, Lens learns to translate, add tips, and more

Google Lens can soon help you decide what to eat by scanning the menu, then calculate the tip with one look at the receipt. Translation options are also expanding for Lens, while augmented reality tools will be built into search results.

Minecraft Earth hands-on preview: The next big AR craze Is coming

Minecraft Earth is a new mobile augmented reality game from Microsoft that has Pokémon Go dead in its sites. The cute monster collect-them-all started the genre, but Minecraft Earth hopes to redefine it.

Google’s ARCore is getting better at tracking moving images

Google has announced a series of updates to ARCore that should make the augmented reality experience a whole lot more fluid. For example, ARCore is getting better at tracking moving images through Augmented Images.

Nike Fit aims to help you slip into your new sneakers more easily

Nike says a new augmented reality feature for its app should increase the chances of a snug fit for customers buying its shoes online, or even in-store. Nike Fit launches in the U.S. in July and the following month in Europe.

Dive headfirst into the best VR experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist on it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Virtual Reality

Your first augmented reality work helmet might be made by Lenovo

A new augmented reality headset from Lenovo could challenge Microsoft's dominance in the commercial AR industry, with the ThinkReality A6 offering an AR experience akin to something between the first and second-generation Hololens headsets.

New Sony patents could be PlayStation’s answer to Google Stadia

Google Stadia will be attempting to cut into the home gaming console pie but one of its competitors may already have an answer for the game streaming platform. A new Sony patent shows what could be the PlayStation spin on streaming.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused augmented reality wearable. The company's smartglasses ship with a faster processor, an updated camera, and safety frames from Smith Optics.