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King County is using Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality technology to train operators at a wastewater treatment plant. (Taqtile Photo)

King County has been recognized for using Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality device to train operators at a wastewater treatment plant.

The Seattle-area county partnered with Microsoft and local tech startup Taqtile earlier this year to launch a project that provides training to employees working at the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Seattle.

Earlier this week, King County won a Digital Edge 50 Award for Digital Transformation that will be honored at the AGENDA 19 Conference hosted by in March.

After the treatment plant discharged sewage into the Puget Sound in early 2017, the county reassessed how they train new operators. That led to the idea of using mixed reality technology, versus a traditional manual.

“We’re thrilled by this national recognition,” King County CIO Tanya Hannah said in a statement. “Our fantastic partnership with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks as well as Microsoft and Taqtile software allowed us to collaborate with so many experts on this solution. Training plant operators through the use of mixed-reality goggles promises quicker, better and more economical results for the county — and better protection of our environment.”

The county and Taqtile are now working on a new pilot project to incorporate 3D mapping of the conveyance system at the wastewater treatment plant.

While virtual and augmented reality headsets have yet to catch on with mainstream consumers, many businesses are finding ways to use the technology. Microsoft last month landed a nearly $480 million contract to provide the U.S. Army with 100,000 HoloLens headsets, a major boon for the company’s mixed reality division. Other recent HoloLens use cases include museum experiences and car manufacturing.

Seattle-based Taqtile has been developing HoloLens software since 2015. The company launched in 2011 and initially focused on mobile app development before shifting gears to mixed reality. It has more than 20 customers using its Manifest enterprise software that King County implemented.

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