While still in its early stages, mixed reality copresence has shown vast potential for applications beyond gaming and entertainment. Advancements in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technology pave the way for seamless connections between real and virtual worlds. We see the lines between real-world interactions and digital-world experiences blurring into virtual oblivion.
However, mixed reality copresence still has a long way to go before it becomes available for mainstream use. Barriers to adoption, such as affordability, availability, and tech limitations, among many others, must be addressed for this technology to truly impact how we live our lives. Holo Interactive, a reality computing lab and content studio, is at the forefront of finding solutions to overcome these barriers.
Botao Amber Hu, the founder and CEO of Holo Interactive, shares his insights on the state of the mixed reality industry and his company’s role in shaping its future.
From Small Steps to Giant Leaps in Making Big Realities
After inventing the award-winning affordable stereoscopic AR headset HoloKit X, Hu gained popularity and esteem in the industry. Developing MOFA, an immersive multiplayer AR live-action RPG, further set Hu’s name as a trailblazer in mixed reality.
With a deep belief that mixed reality copresence holds the key to unlocking the true potential of headword AR, Hu established Holo Interactive to bridge the gaps that hinder the accessibility of mixed reality copresence in the mass consumer market.
Now working with a globally distributed team, Hu is rallying developers, engineers, and other industry professionals to embrace the motto “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
The Holo Interactive team is leading the way as the premier lab for mixed reality co-presence experiences that are accessible to all. Over the years, Holo Interactive has been developing applications and innovative products that could widen the adoption of head-worn AR. Recently, the company hasalso released the HoloKit Unity SDK to empower developers in creating copresence experiences.
Leading the Way in Mixed Reality Copresence
HoloKit X, an immersive stereoscopic hardware designed as an iPhone accessory, enhances AR experiences by creating a more realistic and engaging visual experience that allows users to interact with their environment and digital content more naturally.
It harnesses the powerful capabilities of iPhone and ARKit to deliver exceptional AR experiences to iPhone users. With its multi-modal control inputs and copresence functionality, it can provide face-to-face shared experiences with other users in real time, fostering a sense of presence and social interaction in AR environments.
Aside from creating AR hardware, Holo Interactive is shaping the future of mixed reality by giving developers access to tools that would enable them to create MR solutions. “The current market situation and our unique position within the ecosystem make now an ideal time to release an open-sourced SDK for HoloKit X,” Hu told ARPost in a written interview.
He explained that this strategic move enables them to establish their presence in the MR ecosystem, tap into the growing interest in AR/MR technologies, and empower developers to create copresence experiences.
By opening the HoloKit SDK to third-party users, Holo Interactive hopes to become the “Arduino for head-worn AR.” “We want to encourage more people to experiment with their work in mixed reality copresence and to open-source their creations, inspiring others within the community,” said Hu.
In addition, he hopes that lowering the barriers to entry for mixed reality copresence projects and embracing open-source practices will accelerate progress in the field of MR.
Breaking the Barriers to Widespread Adoption
Immersive technologies are already transforming our lives. VR is gaining widespread use across industries. AR has also gone a long way since Pokémon Go first went viral. However, head-worn AR still faces challenges to widespread adoption.
According to Hu, “Head-worn AR has the potential to turn our world into a ‘software-defined reality’, allowing us to interact with the real world and others in novel ways, a concept known as co-presence. This exciting future, however, is not without hurdles.”
Asked about the barriers AR faces, Hu enumerates four obstacles: affordability of high-quality AR devices, efficiency of input methods, development of killer applications that drive adoption, and psychological barriers to social acceptance.
Holo Interactive is on a mission to break these barriers to adoption. Hu believes that addressing these challenges can help ensure that AR technology reaches its full potential, positively impacting our lives and the way we interact with the world around us.