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Microsoft Mesh Will Let You Share a Mixed Reality Space with Others
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March 11, 2021 News

Some things just cannot be achieved or seen in the virtual world. People may use video conferencing apps but it is still no match to personal interactions where ideas and creativity can come unexpectedly from spontaneous conversation.

You can watch concerts online but it is still not as engaging or fun compared to real-life – watching the event along with other people as they scream their enjoyment. Quite simply, being physically present can bring different kinds of emotions, connections and even outcomes compared to the digital world, where a lot of nuance is lost.

However, we all know that going back to the way things were before the pandemic may still be a long journey as we face the current situation. People want to connect beyond cameras and virtual chatrooms, and this is just what Microsoft Mesh hopes to deliver.

Built on top of Azure, Mesh is the latest offering from Microsoft that plans to enable presence and shared experiences from anywhere – on any device – through mixed reality applications. It will let people connect to others wherever they are, either in the form of an avatar or a realistic figure of themselves.

This is possible with what Microsoft calls “holoportation”, a mix of hologram and teleportation. As the name suggests, people can teleport to other places using the Mesh service, appearing as a hologram in a shared mixed reality space.

With Mesh, users can also interact with a common object in front of them. This can include a car that lets experts dissect its parts or human anatomy that allows medical students to observe the internal systems of a body through holographic projections. Whether physically present or holoported, colleagues can collaborate on content in real-time.

For example, a team with members from different locations can conduct a meeting through Mesh, allowing them to see teammates that are augmented in the space and plan a project using virtual objects. Microsoft delivers this through a device called HoloLens, a wearable headset device that lets a user see in a mix of AR and VR environment.

Mesh is also compatible with all Windows mixed-reality headsets and the Oculus Quest and Quest 2. Although users cannot see a full rendering of others including their faces yet, Microsoft hopes to realise this in the near future.

In addition, Microsoft is aiming to implement Mesh beyond such special devices, allowing people to join Mesh-enabled meetings on any device, such as laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Mesh is part of the announcement during Microsoft’s online conference, Ignite. The technology was demonstrated in a video by Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow, Microsoft, during the event.

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