For some months now, I have experimented with getting the most out of my Lenovo Mixed Reality headset. As not a lot of content on this topic was available, I had to struggle a bit until finding the ideal way of working in Mixed Reality, connected to my Office 365, and Project Online tools. Luckily, with the latest update to the Power BI “Mobile” App, I can now also show my reports and dashboards directly within the “virtual house”. I therefor thought it was about time to share my learnings.
When you take on your headset it automatically loads the “Windows Cave House”. Its a virtual house, that you can freely decorate with live screens, games, furniture and lots of other things. This house is where most happens when in Mixed Reality mode.
One thing is obviously gaming, but you might be asking, which Microsoft productivity tools e.g. in Office365 that runs Mixed Reality. As a matter of fact, they can all be launched and used, when in the Mixed Reality mode. However, some of Windows 10 apps are VR ready, where others will be shown by simply by making a “screen of your PC/laptop desktop”.
I believe in Mixed Reality as this will allow us to work together without necessarily being together. Imagine a large stand up meeting, in which people feel they are together, but are actually several timezones away from each other. There are many other examples of some more hard-core advantages e.g. during surgery procedures where doctors using Hololens can see right through the human skull, before making any cuts. These examples just go on and on, so of course we will see more of this technology in the future, and not only for gamers.
When it comes to Microsoft Software and Mixed Reality, any tool that would work in a Microsoft Edge browser can be used in Mixed Reality mode. This means you can use Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project Online and so on. No problem at all although it does take some time to get used to the handles and what voice options you have. The voice runs with the help from Cortana, which really works smooth when launching, writing or using apps.
There are also native Mixed Reality apps such as Skype, Movies, Power BI etc. These are also screens that you can put up on a wall, but they come with a full feature set like you do when running apps on Windows 10.
Recently I tried to launch the new Power BI Mobile App experience in Mixed Reality mode. This again works like a charm, and you have to try it yourself, to fully understand, what it means to see a dashboard or report in the same size as your house. It feels so real and magically as the graphics are so crisp. The videos really do not show the real experience.
Now that you have had a chance to learn a little about Mixed Reality and how it looks, I thought it would be useful with a basic FAQ to get you started. I hope you will try this out yourself and perhaps comment this post with your own experience.
What is Microsoft Mixed Reality?
Windows Mixed Reality (formerly Windows Holographic) is a mixed reality platform introduced as part of the Windows 10 operating system, which provides holographic and mixed reality experiences with compatible head-mounted displays. When you take on your headset it loads the Windows
What specification should my laptop/PC have?
This depends on what you are trying to do. If you are the hardcore gamer, you probably already know what works and doesn’t work. If you are a business user like myself, you need to learn that its all about the GPU, which means dedicated power from a strong graphics card. As a guideline, you should try and find a laptop that has the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 card or higher. You could also settle for less but that would not be recommended.
How do you connect the Mixed Reality set to your laptop?
The headset requires a USB 3.0 connection and HDMI. As my laptop only has USB-C I had to find an adapter. If you have the same issue, make sure you buy an expensive one as the screen will flicker otherwise – I had the problem for quite some time until I understood what was wrong.
What laptop am I using myself?
I am using the latest Microsoft Surface Book 2 with an I7 processor. This means GTX 1050 is built in and it has more than enough power to run heavy programs, games and yes Mixed Reality Ultra as well. I can highly recommend this laptop although the cost is a bit high.
How can I share what I am seeing when using the headset?
Basically you need to stream/play your VR experience to your laptops screen. To achieve this you need a to be running Windows Mixed Reality Ultra. This would be available if you are on a laptop/PC with the GTX 1050 or higher graphics card. If you are below this level, you will not be able to share the VR experience to any screen.
How to record Windows Mixed Reality video?
So far I have done this simply by using my laptop screen to show whats happening, and then have Camtasia (my preferred video tool) to record my screen. It is not a smooth as I had hoped but it works.
Which headsets and controllers are available?
Learn more at this page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/collections/vrandmixedrealityheadsets