Just had a meeting with Microsoft Hololens team and got informed that there are 3 new features coming to Hololens next week.
1. Simulated Input in Unity Play Mode
This is essentially similar to the Hololens Emulator – where you have a window to provide simulated hololens input to the emulator. But starting next week, you wont have to export unity project to visual studio and deploy to emulator. You will have a panel/window within Unity to provide the same simulated input in Unity Play Mode. This will be really beneficial for some initial testing inside Unity – lots of time savings.
2. Unity Remote Debugging for Hololens
This is essentially similar to how Unity allows remote debugging of apps on iOS/Android devices. So starting next week, you will be able to run your app on a Hololens device and connect to it from Unity in Play mode – This means that you will see the Hololens “view” inside your Unity Editor and you can provide input from Unity Editor as well as debug code – again lots of time savings and we finally can get rid of the “debug log panels in Hololens UI”.
3. Hololens Remoting to Windows 10 PC
I am extremely excited about this one. Essentially, your Windows 10 PC becomes the brains for the Hololens device.
Let’s break this down:
- Develop a Windows 10 UWP app, utilize all the Hololens APIs like you would for any holographic app
- But deploy and run this app on your Windows 10 PC – YES thats correct
- Install Hololens Remoting app on your Hololens device (will be released next week)
- Your Windows 10 PC UWP app will connect to the Hololens Device
- Voila…. Your Windows 10 PC just became the brains for Hololens
- All sensor inputs are being sent from the Hololens device to your Windows 10 PC app
- Your app does all processing on the PC, final render / image is sent over to hololens
This is exciting on so many fronts.. first of all.. All the magic is done over WiFi – so critics jumping on to calling this a tethered experience – hold off!!
Microsoft Hololens Team told us that in their tests they have achieved 60 FPS with all the compression and communication over WiFi – and that is no ordinary feat!
Now lets consider the opportunities:
- Apps that require more horse power – scientific/medical visualization or complex algorithms – can be offloaded to a PC
- Apps that require more eye-candy can utilize a stronger GPU/shaders on the PC
- Additional peripherals attached to the PC can be utilized e.g. Kinect, Leap Motion – any other crazy sensors.
This is a very useful addon to a device that is awesome anyway, of course it should be used IF the project requires it. We have to evaluate the tradeoffs – Will the app in question be more constrained by the processing / gpu power of the Hololens device OR will it get a performance hit due to WiFi latency – and that will depend on the project requirements.
The future is NOW – sorry – I mean next week 😉
PS: All the braniacs may have guessed it, feature 2 is powered by feature 3 🙂
PPS: Shameless plug – check out my game #HoloTankz on hololens