That's where Microsoft's announcement of View Mixed Reality gets interesting. It's Microsoft's attempt to get 3D objects into AR without a headset, using a regular Windows computer with a basic RGB camera. It's coming to Windows 10 later this fall.
Microsoft's built-in AR joins what will undoubtedly be a wave of AR-on-a-flat-screen tech, including Google Tango and Facebook's phone-based AR initiatives. I got to try View Mixed Reality briefly at Microsoft's education event Tuesday in New York. I wasn't allowed to take photos.
The demo was simple: a 3D penguin skeleton created in Microsoft's Paint 3D app was superimposed on the real world, much like Snapchat and other phone-based AR apps. The penguin skeleton sort of sat on the floor of the classroom in front of me, or on a shelf (pinching shrunk the skeleton down so it would fit properly).
The "mixed reality" effect places the object into the real world, but it's unclear how well it's tracked. I posed for a photo in front of the invisible (to me) giant penguin skeleton. Since View Mixed Reality isn't using a more advanced depth-sensing camera like Google Tango, the effect looked a little jittery. But it worked.
View Mixed Reality will be a one-button-tap effect in Paint 3D when it debuts in the fall, and a tool Microsoft aims to use as a stand-in for more advanced VR headsets or the Hololens.
It's a quick lens to view your creations in the "real" world. It also shows that Microsoft, like others, are aware not everyone's going to get a VR or Hololens headset on their faces anytime soon.
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