Wearable Tech

Microsoft's latest HoloLens partner: Cirque du Soleil

The future of theater set design could be holographic.

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At Microsoft's Build developer conference, there were a lot of pitches for the use cases of mixed reality. One of the wilder demos was from some of the team members of Cirque du Soleil, who demonstrated using Microsoft's HoloLens for virtual design work. Cirque's "C: Lab" innovation laboratory showed off HoloLens and mixed reality toolsets for future set designs in a stage demo with virtual performers.

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Cirque performer, digitally added to a digital set.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

The demo showed how a set for a future Cirque show could be constructed in actual scale, skinned with textures, and then have holographic actors applied. Of course, the stage demo seen on Microsoft's Build video maximizes the field of view beyond what the actual HoloLens headset enables, but the idea is fascinating.

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Building the set with a virtual partner.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

It's certainly a killer use case for live venues or other installation spaces that need to be designed collaboratively, and at least shows how theater design collaboration could work. The future of large-scale, live physical theater planning could, someday, have some of its roots in digital tools like these.