Spatial is a real-time AR collaboration platform first developed for the original HoloLens by New York-based startup Spatial. Although now that Microsoft’s new and improved HoloLens 2 is in the mix, Spatial CEO Anand Agarawala and CPO Jinha Lee took the stage today at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) HoloLens 2 unveiling to show off what’s next for the platform.
Agarawala and Lee demonstrated some new features coming to Spatial, among which are more lifelike avatars thanks to HoloLens 2’s improved hand-tracking and newly introduced eye-tracking. Chatting through Spatial, Lee’s avatar mirrored his physical arm, hand and eye movements in a way that simply wasn’t possible running on the original HoloLens.
To show off how companies are using Spatial, Mattel CTO Sven Gerjets took the stage, saying that the Mattel’s toy designers, engineers, marketers and manufacturers are spread all over the world. Gerjets says that Mattel is now using Spatial to reduce the need to travel (as much) via the platform’s shared work spaces, represented by virtual walls filled with standard 2D media like Power Points and videos, but also interactive 3D models so the team can better assess product readiness.
Using the Spatial mobile app, Lee quickly typed a message on his smartphone which automatically became a ‘virtual sticky note’ that he could then append to an in-development toy model to tell an engineer that a critical piece needed to be tweaked.
To demonstrate how brainstorming for new products works in the shared, collaborative AR space, Agarawala showed off the app’s ability to use HoloLens 2’s vocal recognition by ordering up a collection of 2D and 3D reference images. Clicking any one of these bundles would elicit an Internet search for more 3D models, images and web pages.
As a persistent digital object, the digital work space is said to be accessible by a multitude of devices including VR headsets, PCs, and mobile phones.
Like all on-stage HoloLens demos to date, footage was captured with an external camera which included mixed reality & depth-sensing hardware to better visually demonstrate how a user can interact with virtual objects in their physical environment. Despite the video’s more immersive visuals, Spatial’s HoloLens 2 demo offers a prescient look at what could be the workplace of tomorrow.
We’re here at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, so check back soon for breaking news, previews, and all things AR/VR.