MICROSOFT unveiled a new hologram platform today as part of its new operating system.
The feature will use a new holographic headset to overlay virtual images onto the real world - so that Skype conversations can pop up while people are walking around, or a living room can be turned into a virtual landscape from a game.
The platform, Microsoft Holographic, and the headset were both revealed as part of the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft's new operating system for tablets, phones and PCs.
The holographic software is built into Windows 10 already, the company said.
Though Microsoft is working on its own hardware, the platform will also work for other virtual reality software like Oculus Rift and Google Glass.
Wired magazine had an early look at the kit, calling it "amazing" and praising the realism of the virtual images.
Onstage, a Microsoft executive built a virtual flying drone, which the company then showed could be 3D printed. Alex Kipman, who helped lead the project, called it "print preview for 3D printing".
Users can wear the headset while moving around, and interact with virtual images using their hands.
The hologram kit has been under development for more than five years, it reported, and early versions of it were integrated into Microsoft's Kinect.
Microsoft has been working with Nasa on the project, it said.
It will be available "in the Windows 10 timeframe", Microsoft said.
New operating systems are usually released every four to five years.
Some of the new experiences coming to Windows 10
- Cortana comes to PC and Tablet. The Cortana personal digital assistant will now be available on Windows 10 PCs and tablets to support people and help them get things done.
- A new web experience for Windows 10. "Project Spartan," the next generation browser offers the ability to annotate with keyboard or pen and share with friends, distraction-free reading mode and integration with Cortana to put the web to work.
- Xbox on Windows 10. Stream games directly from your Xbox One to Windows 10, play games with friends across devices and experience great graphics built using DirectX12.
- Office for Windows 10: Office universal apps on Windows 10 deliver a consistent, touch-first experience across phone, tablet and PC. More will be shared on the next version of the Office desktop suite in the coming months.
- New Microsoft Surface Hub optimises Windows 10 experiences for groups: Surface Hub takes advantage of Windows 10, Skype for Business and Office 365 to make every person - remote or onsite - feel like they're in the same collaborative space.
Office for Windows 10.
Office universal apps on Windows 10 deliver a touch-first experience across devices, Microsoft says.
New versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are designed from the ground up to run on Windows, built for touch, and offer the unmistakable Office experience customers know and love.
New inking features in PowerPoint let people annotate slides in real time, and the new touch-first controls in Excel make it easy to create and update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse.
The next version of the Office desktop suite is also currently in development and Microsoft will have more to share in the coming months.
Additional Windows 10 features include:
• Continuum mode. On 2-in-1 devices, Windows 10 will move easily between keyboard and mouse and touch and tablet as it detects the transition and conveniently switches to the new mode.
• New universal apps. Windows 10 will offer new experience applications, consistent across the device continuum, for Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People & Messaging and Mail & Calendar.
These built-in apps have an updated design that looks and feels the same from app to app and device to device.
Content is stored and synced through OneDrive, enabling people to start something on one device and continue it on another.
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