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Windows Mixed Reality

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference coverage

Windows Mixed Reality is a Microsoft platform for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) experiences.

The platform is optimized for Microsoft’s HoloLens, which the company describes as a “fully untethered, see-through holographic computer.” The headset features transparent lenses that allow users to experience holograms as though they are a part of their natural environment.

 Wearing Hololens, users can do things like:

  •  Place virtual furniture in a room and change its position to see what the physical version would look like.
  •  Interact with a virtual computer display.
  •  Play video games that incorporate real world features, such as the furniture in a home.
  •  Post virtual navigational aids in areas such as factories or office spaces.
  •  Place instructional apps in an environment to guide the user through tasks.
  •  Play virtual board games in which the user can interact with virtual game pieces.
  • Interact with holographic models of, for example, a car engine or, in medical training, a human body.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets are also available from a number of manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. Despite the “mixed reality” name, however, these devices are best considered VR headsets.

Mixed Reality is defined as a combination of physical reality and digital content that enables interaction with and among real-world and virtual objects. Microsoft uses the term differently, referring to MR as any altered reality that exists somewhere on the virtuality continuum between the completely physical environment and, at the other extreme, a completely virtual environment.

Originally called Windows Holographic, Windows Mixed Reality was introduced with the Windows 10 operating system. 

Watch a demonstration of how Windows Mixed Reality might be used in a business setting:

This was last updated in May 2018

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