What You Need to Know about Mixed Reality

What You Need to Know about Mixed Reality

You’re walking down a city street and approach the construction site for your new proposed building. You adjust your lens, gaze at the empty space for a moment and then slowly reach your hand out in front of you and flick. Suddenly your building design is projected in the empty space in front of you. You can become fully immersed in this mixed reality experience by walking around in your building, changing dynamic features of it or exploring how it interacts with the surrounding landscape. All it takes is the simple act of putting on a pair of Microsoft HoloLens glasses.

In the past we covered two topics regarding virtual reality. The first was how it can be used to help urban planners, and the second was how it is assisting with the design of senior residences. I wanted to highlight these articles because it’s important to know that mixed reality is a variant of virtual reality. To understand this, we must first look at what virtual reality encompasses. According to Foundry’s interpretation of Virtual Reality, they define it as “the umbrella term for all immersive experiences, which could be created using purely real-world content, purely synthetic content or a hybrid of both.” In the instance of mixed reality,  it focuses on synthetic content.

image © Vimeo

image © Vimeo

According to Wikipedia, “Mixed reality (MR)—sometimes referred to as hybrid reality—is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.”  The main component to remember about Mixed Reality is that the synthetic content and the real-world content are able to react to each other in real time.

In the video above, you can see how the Microsoft HoloLens provides an architect with direct information about the buildings surrounding the area. Information such as the building’s name, architect, and colours are included in the interface so that architects can understand how their building may blend into the physical environment.  

When you bring your 3D models to life in mixed reality, you get to explore them in a new form. As you walk through the building, you can see how they function in their environment and this may cause you to rethink certain structural elements. For example, when you initially designed your building you may not have considered how much sunlight might beam into one area. Once you get to experience it, you may then want to alter the design of the windows to accommodate for sun protection. The design can be easily made to your digital file and then will be rendered into your mixed reality design.

image © Wiki Commons

image © Wiki Commons

Another benefit about engaging with mixed reality is that you can easily share the creation with those that have access to a lens. This can reduce the amount of preliminary redrawings you’d have to make since the client can easily be immersed in your vision.

So you can have a 1:1 scale experience of your design that you can not only use with the Microsoft HoloLens but that can also bridge the gap between two dimensional, three dimensional and physical space.

When interacting with a mixed reality environment, it mimics our natural behaviours to make the virtual interactions appear to be 'real'. This means as you get closer to certain objects they will become bigger and the perspective will change as you move around the object. So you can see what your building will look like while walking down the street and how it changes when you approach it. You can also open the doors and stand inside. As shown in the video above, the interactions in mixed reality are seamless and ones that you won't want to miss out on. 

The best part about Mixed Reality is that Microsoft HoloLens has teamed up with SketchUp for Architectural 3D Reality. So if you’re partnered with CADdetails, this means in the future that all the SketchUp models that we develop are built ready to work with Microsoft HoloLens and SketchUp Viewer to help create your mixed reality 3D design project.


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