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Microsoft and Autodesk are working together to build industrial design software for the augmented reality headset.
Microsoft and Autodesk are working together to build industrial design software for the augmented reality headset.

Microsoft introduced another potential use for its HoloLens augmented reality headset on Monday, this time showing how engineers and industrial designers could use the technology to shape new devices.

Designers have long used software to create digital 3D models of whatever they’re working on. But imagine if those models could be loaded into the HoloLens and viewed as a hologram. Designers could see their designs at scale and make changes in real time without needing to build physical models.

Microsoft HoloLens

Industrial design was one of the first potential applications Microsoft talked about for its augmented reality headset, but now the company is making it official by a partnering with design software maker Autodesk. The companies aren’t showing off how their prototype it works quite yet, but they did release a video that shows potential scenarios. The companies say they’ve been working for the past year to bring Autodesk’s Fusion 360 platform to the HoloLens.

It’s still under development, but Autodesk says the tool could one day let entire teams of designers test their ideas on holograms before building anything in the real world.

“HoloLens is brining this 3D content into the real world. That’s the real power of HoloLens,” Autodesk software development manager Jean Luc Corenthin said in a video showing how the application may someday work.

This is just the latest HoloLens hype video we’ve seen from Microsoft recently. The company is going to release the device to developers in the first quarter of 2016, and it’s making sure it’s seen as more than just a cool gadget. This is supposed to be a revolutionary product that shapes the future of computing — or so Microsoft hopes.

Last week, the company showed how the HoloLens could revolutionize car shopping. Before that, it was talking about education. When the headset first debuted in January, Microsoft showed off everything from using it to play video games to getting directions on how to fix a light switch.

Despite these grand visions of what the HoloLens could become, almost no one has had a chance to really put the device to the test outside of carefully orchestrated demonstrations. But with 2016 quickly approaching, that could be about to change.




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