Saturday, April 8, 2017

Acer's Mixed Reality developer kit for Windows 10

Windows Mixed Reality is the new Windows Holographic and at GDC 2017 out in San Francisco, Microsoft and Acer announced that the first developer kit is about to start shipping.
Acer is the hardware company behind the headset, and while we only got to gaze upon it from outside a glass case, it's still a pretty awesome looking bit of kit.
It's also very, very blue. But it's not as if you go outside in your VR headset anyway. The Acer kit follows a PlayStation VR-esque design with a headband that supports on your forehead and wraps around to the back. Personally, I find this style much more comfortable to wear than the ski mask style you get from the likes of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
There are also two cameras on the front, since this is mixed reality, positioned in a black band around the center. That's about all we've got so far, but hopefully more will come out on this specific headset when it starts getting in peoples hands. Or on their heads.
Acer’s Mixed Reality Headset, for example, isn’t as sleek looking as HoloLens and it doesn’t truly mix the virtual and real (though that is supported by Microsoft's mixed reality platform). But I found the headset (though I couldn’t take a picture) can feel at points remarkably similar to the HoloLens Experience.
The headset, which looked exactly like the one pictured above, is what one might call fully-occluded headgear. When you put it on, it blocks your view and does not use what appears to be two forward-facing cameras to pull in a live picture of your real world.
The headgear is, by the way, lightweight and comfortable. It might be even more trouble-free to wear and adjust than Microsoft HoloLens, but unlike HoloLens, it is tethered. Since Mixed Reality partner headgear are 3D displays with six-degrees of freedom motion tracking, all the processing of and interaction with 3D imagery is done on the PC. As a result, two cables, an HDMI and USB 3, snake out of the back of the headgear and get plugged into a high-powered PC. In my case, it was a 17-inch Razer gaming rig.
Setup only took a moment as I let the headgear’s movement trackers adjust to my height and find the floor. We did not let it scan the perimeter to build a basic mesh for my office walls. As a result, I remained seated for my demo.

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