What Does The Mesh Do In Augmented Reality? Discover how it evolves and the practical applications in the real world.
Virtual and augmented reality products haven’t developed as fast as expected, but Microsoft wants to speed things up by making it easier to connect from different places and using different devices.
This new effort, called Microsoft Mesh, will allow people in New York to collaborate with people in Seattle using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 glasses and also using Facebook’s Oculus VR headset. Through Mesh-compatible hardware and software, the two people can see virtual representations of each other in their offices, talking and moving in real time like they’re there. They’d be able to edit or manipulate virtual charts or digital objects projected before them.
That’s what Microsoft showed off at Ignite on Tuesday for the first time. Mesh could connect users on VR gadgets, Mac and PC computers, and smartphones. Although it might not be as easy as the company hopes to get all the hardware makers to use its standards. Despite HoloLens and popular collaboration software like Teams and Office being compatible with Mesh, other software developers may be wary of relying on Microsoft.
The idea of mixed reality has been the dream since the beginning. When someone shares content, you feel like you’re there. If you’re not physically together, you can teleport and be present with people.
Gamers could also benefit from Mesh. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, demonstrated how the game might work on Tuesday, with players standing all over the place seeing the same Pokémon. As much as possible, we would like to bring everyone together in the same room so that they can bounce ideas off each other and have that human connection.
The tech industry has been promoting the future of augmented and virtual reality for years, but consumers and businesses have shown only modest interest. Most setups require expensive hardware that’s hard to configure and provides janky, unrealistic results. It can be hard to collaborate across different brands of hardware. Microsoft and Facebook continue to invest in the unrealized potential of VR, boasting that their Oculus Quest 2 was a bestseller over the holidays.
There’s also a rumor that Apple’s working on AR and VR hardware. It’s like what Microsoft did with Windows and DOS when it helped software developers add new features. During the early days of personal computing, every software developer had to write drivers for different PCs, displays, printers, and other hardware.
Microsoft, however, added driver support to DOS and Windows, so software developers didn’t have to worry about making their programs compatible only with the operating system. Using Azure to compete with Amazon’s AWS and Google’s cloud, Microsoft has moved away from its emphasis on Windows under CEO Satya Nadella. Behind the scenes, the Mesh system connects different brands of VR hardware and software. Microsoft said Mesh would use VR and AR standards created by each hardware manufacturer, such as Apple’s ARKit framework for iPhones and iPads, instead of forcing users to install a separate piece of software or use proprietary standards.