Gifts Under $30 Gifts Under $50 iPhone Emergency SOS Saves Man MyHeritage 'Time Machine' Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Trailer White Bald Eagle Indiana Jones 5 Trailer Black Hole's 1,000 Trillion Suns
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Microsoft bringing AR to Windows 10 via View Mixed Reality

Any Windows 10 computer with a camera will be able to overlay 3D objects into real-world images for a taste of mixed (or augmented) reality.


Microsoft wants people to experience augmented and mixed reality, both via affordable headsets and the more expensive Hololens. But, there's a catch: not everyone has these headsets.

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).


Placing the Mars rover in reality for size comparison.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.