Microsoft Mesh Holo Platform Gets a New Update
Microsoft is introducing a number of new functions for its own mixed reality meeting software Microsoft Mesh which will include an XR co-presence on site combined with digital avatars.
Earlier this year, Microsoft had announced the Microsoft Mesh and also enabled the Microsoft Mesh App for HoloLens (Preview) that showcases how users can immersively connect, share, and collaborate even in cases where the participants are not physically present. In a blog post, Microsoft says it has been adding new features to the app following its launch earlier in the year and are now unveiling new updates to the app including improved UI as well as “numerous new features” inside the Microsoft mesh App. According to Microsoft, these new features have been in the works for months and even years.
Through Microsoft Mesh, Microsoft is eventually going for its own mixed reality vision of the future in 2021. Mesh is a collaborative online platform that brings together both virtual reality and augmented reality along with conventional computers in one digital location.
Microsoft Mesh provides the requisite digital infrastructure in the Azure cloud. Users will be able to meet in mesh environments, for instance, to work together and learn about 3D models.
The first Microsoft Mesh demos released in the spring weren’t as polished as the Microsoft product presentation showcased but they were a pointer to what users should expect in the future. More and more digital content is now available in 3D and Mesh has become the central platform for various end devices including Oculus, SteamVR headsets as well as HoloLens that are optimized for 3D viewing and interaction.
Microsoft has now released a Mesh update which, in addition to its revised design, brings forth tons of new functions which, according to Microsoft, have been under development for months or even years.
Microsoft Mesh Update Brings Local Co-Presence
Microsoft says that the new Mesh version will feature a highly anticipated local functionality: colocation or local co-presence. Two people who are in the same location can join a mesh session with other digital avatars. In case of the HoloLens 2 AR headsets, two people on site can see each other directly in reality instead of as avatars.
In XR headsets with eye tracking functionalities, Microsoft has also integrated gaze control for menus and content. Users, for instance, can look at a 3D object, select it through this gaze and then interact with the object via hand gestures, for instance. Microsoft still describes the eye-tracking function as an “experimental” function and it must be activated in the mesh settings.
Microsoft Mesh Gets Livelier and More Beautiful
With the Mesh update, Microsoft is introducing an updated interface which according to Microsoft XR designer Ramiro Torres, brings together what has been learned from several years of XR design experience at Microsoft.
Microsoft is promising a “coherent, intuitive and pleasant experience”. On top of the newly designed menus, there are also partly 3D assets and icons, new animations for menu transitions or chic diorama windows in the help area. Microsoft has also updated the audio feedback in all areas.
The brush section has also been expanded and now features more than 40 brushes as well as new color and surface effects. Users can use the brush to draw or mark objects inside the 3D space. As an additional collaboration aid, there are now digital sticky notes with voice and keyboard input.
Here is a summary of the Microsoft Mesh updates in the new Version: –
- A Designed UI: The app has an updated look and feel for a cohesive, intuitive and enjoyable experience. The new look has come from several years of iterative testing and learning, according to Microsoft. The new UI includes new animations, 3D assets, icons, menus, magic windows and a lot more.
- Co–location: Microsoft has described this is a highly-anticipated feature. The feature allows users that are in the same physical location to be in a collaborative session with one another without relying on avatars and alongside other remote avatar participants.
- New Brushes: With more than 40 unique brushes, you can now take your annotations to a whole new level. The new brushes also come with brush sounds. The brushes also feature various styles and effects such as animations, extrusions, particles, solid pattern as well as natural shapes. For greater detail on the brushes, use a bigger brush size.
- Audio Feedback: Microsoft Mesh now has a more consistent, delightful and responsive UI audio. You will get audio feedback for various kinds of user interactions like joining or leaving a space or brushstrokes.
- Eye Gaze Interaction: This is an experimental interaction in the new Version. The feature enables you to use your eyes to choose menu items and holographic content. Instead of having to reach out to choose an item through direct interaction or hand rays, the feature allows you to gaze at something you wish to interact with and select or manipulate it using a pinch gesture. The experimental feature can be enabled via Settings > Experimental > Eye Gaze Interaction.
- Sticky Notes: This is, yet, another experimental feature in the new version. You can amp up your productivity through voice-enabled and keyboard-enabled sticky notes found on the sub-menu of the Tools tab. This experimental feature can be enabled through Settings > Experimental > Sticky Notes.
The Mesh App is being deployed by customers in different kinds of scenarios like industrial design reviews, brainstorming sessions, floor planning, as well as in the layouts of large spaces. Microsoft says some of the new Mesh features like co-location were designed based on the user feedback from the early preview of Mesh.
Watch Mesh updates on YouTube: –