Electronic Product Design

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 00:00 Written by

Microsoft and Autodesk Team Up

Earlier this year we saw the awesome power of holograms brought to our eyes in the form of the Microsoft HoloLens. At the time of release the functionality of the HoloLens was limited, though the initial set of promotional videos illustrated the potential of the HoloLens quite nicely. We saw intrepid children (and adults!) delving into gaming sensation Minecraft, and another featuring a holographic electrician guiding the user through some home maintenance.

The latter video caught the imagination. If the HoloLens could be used to guide an individual through a fixture change, could it also be used to guide people through other tasks?

Microsoft read our minds, and last week announced their partnership with Autodesk, world leaders in 3D design software for everything from civil engineering to electronic product design.

Autodesk and HoloLens

The companies have been working together since last year to form a partnership delivering brand new design solutions for industrial and commercial design companies. The project, called FreeForm, has focused on combining the power of Autodesk Fusion 360 with the functionality of the HoloLens.

Having prototyped and tested a number of scenarios, Microsoft and Autodesk are increasingly confident of delivering a mixed reality environment for designers. Autodesk Fusion 360 Business Development Manager Garin Gardiner said "When we first saw HoloLens, we immediately sensed the possibilities for 3D engineering and industrial design. We explored how users could collaborate together by looking at the same holographic model and being able to walk around it and discuss various aspects of the design as if it were really sitting on their table."

What Will It Look Like?

Amazing! But don’t take my word, have a look at this video demonstration, straight from the (video) mouths of Microsoft and Autodesk:

It looks pretty slick, and entirely like the future, arriving directly on our faces. Microsoft aren’t stopping here either, with partnerships announced or already in place with NASA, Case Western Reserve University, Unity, Sketchfab, and Walt Disney to name but a few. The possibilities for HoloLens development currently seem limitless, and it leaves me wondering just how far this technology can take us into virtual reality, as well as how a piece of technology like the HoloLens will alter our relationship with our own homes.

Things that I currently find difficult – though others find easy – will become achievable with a holographic walk through. Other professions, such as an architect will be able to develop and design entire buildings, entire districts using the HoloLens – and then take a nice walk through it, tweaking as they go.

HoloLens has the potential to change our day to day, and I’m very excited about that, and the ever growing list of HoloLens partners and developers is testament that others do to.



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