How the Microsoft HoloLens will change the way your business uses SOLIDWORKS

Article by Mitch Theriault, last updated on December 20, 2017

The ​Microsoft HoloLens represents one of the biggest leaps in technology I’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s about as “magical” as technology can get, and I don’t mean “magical” in the way Apple uses it when talking about their latest iPhone.

When you first use the HoloLens to interact with holograms of your SOLIDWORKS models, you’re hit with such a solid initial experience that you’ll actually be wondering where the capabilities of this thing end. But regardless of how mind-blowing the device is, I can’t picture anyone buying a HoloLens to use personally in the near future. In its current iteration, the HoloLens is best suited to professional business applications.

Microsoft HoloLens in action

Microsoft HoloLens in action

What is the Microsoft Hololens?

The HoloLens is a head mounted device that is able to accurately display virtual objects as holograms in the real world in front of you. Until very recently, this concept was limited to science fiction. Holograms are solid looking and incredibly sharp. You are able to use your hands to interact with the virtual objects, and they track to the real world extremely well.

The system is also entirely self contained, requiring minimal set up and has no external components for tracking. Instead, the device has 5 cameras mounted on it that are constantly scanning the environment around you, and where you are within it.

Since the HoloLens is constantly keeping tabs on your surroundings, it is able to integrate virtual objects accurately, without them drifting around. The HoloLens is an internet connected device, so it is capable of communicating with other HoloLens devices, making it a collaborative tool.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft HoloLens

Who is the Microsoft HoloLens designed for?

Because of it’s current price-point, I don’t think the HoloLens is a product for gamers or the consumer market. Microsoft has clearly marketed the HoloLens as a more professional development platform with the cost of the device.

Although there are a number of games available for the platform, I don’t see anyone purchasing a HoloLens just to play them. Also, these titles may not be taken seriously by people who play games on more traditional platforms. The actual game play aspect of the current HoloLens game lineup is rather limited. However, the games act as excellent technical demos that showcase the amazing things the HoloLens can do.

One game (Young Conker) uses the HoloLens’ spatial technology to recognize your environment, and place the main character on your coffee table at the start of a level. Another game experience (called Fragments) transforms your real world environment into a crime scene, where you have to search for clues hidden on your walls, behind your couch, etc. While these mechanics are unprecedented, they don’t necessary make for great game play, and outside of playing games, there isn’t much the HoloLens has to offer the average consumer.

The Commercial/business Market

I think where the Hololens really shines is in its potential for enhancing a business’ product or process. The amazing technology used in the above game demonstrations can be leveraged to create interactive applications to help business development, and to solve critical business issues.

Being able to visualize prototypes of products before they exist, as if they’re really there is an incredible asset to the automotive, industrial design, and architectural industries, where the sheer size of a product makes it difficult to showcase at trade shows or meetings with customers and prospects.

The HoloLens allows these businesses to visualize the operation of their product or process right in front of them in their existing environment. This level of mixed reality and interactivity is perfect for many applications, such as marketing, sales, or for training on product/process safety and operation.

Business collaboration and interacting with models

Engineers, designers, and clients can share data and work together in person or remotely on projects with the HoloLens, allowing complex collaboration never before possible. In education, medical applications can be made where students can examine interactive 3D models as if they were objects in the room. In retail, companies like Lowe’s are using a HoloLens application to help visualize home renovations before they’re done.

Thyssenkrupp Elevators dispatches HoloLens to their technicians who provide on-site servicing to display critical repair and procedural information to them so they can work hands-free. The HoloLens has already been out for a year, and already we have a wide array of uses for the technology.

Advance the way your business uses SOLIDWORKS

If you’re looking for a way to bring your SOLIDWORKS models to life, the Microsoft HoloLens is the best way to do it. This is why we’ve chosen to work with the HoloLens at Javelin through our sister company, Cinema Suite.

Javelin, in partnership with Cinema Suite, develop solutions for businesses looking to create holograms of their SOLIDWORKS assemblies and associated data for:

  • Product development
  • Interactive hands-on training
  • Design reviews
  • Trade show demonstrations
  • Sales and marketing
  • and other commercial applications

Visit our Hololens Development Site for more information or fill out the form below to contact us directly:

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Mitch Theriault

Mitch Theriault works at Cinema Suite and is a film editor, visual effects nerd, and tech enthusiast. Spends most days experimenting with After Effects plug-ins and watching cat videos.

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