Mixed Reality and the “screen door effect”

One of the things that struck me (or to be more precise didn’t strike me!) when I first put on a Mixed Reality headset was the lack of this effect.  I had always found the screen door effect a little annoying in the past so how did this new generation of headsets seemingly make it go away?

The old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” perhaps applies here – Microsoft wanted to make all our current apps accessible while wearing one of these new headsets and reading a Word document or Excel spreadsheet through a screen door was never going to be tenable.  And so software tricks aside there is only one solution to this problem – make the pixels so small that you simply cannot see them!  This is one of the reasons why Mixed reality headsets have a higher resolution that any of the currently popular generation of headsets.  Compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (at 1080×1200 per eye) Mixed Reality headsets all have a higher resolution at 1440×1440 per eye*.  It is this extra resolution that keeps that screen door at bay at the same time as giving you a clearer, cleaner experience across the board.


The above diagram illustrates the relative difference in resolution for some of today’s popular headsets.

  • Note that the Samsung Mixed Reality headset has a slightly higher resolution than the Mixed Reality standard
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Mixed Reality – Where is my keyboard?

One of the first things I noticed when I first started in Mixed Reality was (surprise) I can see the controllers in the virtual world! Not only that but they animate  showing me (and advising me) how to use them.  Then,  when I put them down on the ground and have a chat with someone in the “real world”, “Visor up” I can see where I left them when I get back in the virtual world – Pretty Cool!

So putting gaming to one side for a moment there is currently some debate as to whether Mixed Reality, as it stands at the moment, can be used for what might be commonly referred to as “work”.  For me there are a number of things that need to be in place*, and then some “nice to haves” that would persuade me to work within the Mixed Reality Cliff House.  First and foremost of those necessities would be an option to “switch on my keyboard”.  So that I can find it and see what I am typing.  I would like an interactive keyboard that “lights up” each key I press within the virtual world – sure, I am going to fail a little because I can’t see my actual hands and fingers as I type but I suspect I will get used to that quite quickly (in the same way that a good pianist doesn’t need to look at the piano keyboard when they play).  And so my next keyboard should have this “visible in Mixed Reality” functionality built right in, as should my mouse – and once I get going I’m not going to be using those controllers for this kind of work (and in any case I only have one pair of hands).

So there you have it, I am formally requesting Microsoft (and their hardware partners) for a new set of hardware that is “visible in mixed reality”

  • And I have to say that having multiple screens of any size dotted around my virtual room was probably top of the list!

Addendum: You know what I might settle for in the short term? Some “visible in Mixed Reality” string  and/or tape that I can wrap around anything I want to find in there!

 

 

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Mixed Reality on Microsoft Surface Devices?

Until now it has been a bit of a black art getting Mixed Reality to run on the latest line of Surface devices but Microsoft has just released a number of patches aimed at bring these devices up to date for us:

Surface Pro 4 (M1796):

Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name
Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. driver update for Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth

  • 15.68.9120.47 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) HD Graphics 620 Intel(R) HD Graphics 620 – Display adapters

  • 22.20.16.4749 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Precise Touch Device Intel(R) Precise Touch Device – Human Interface Devices

  • 1.2.0.92 improves battery life by disabling touch while TypeCover lid is closed.
Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. driver update for Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller Marvell AVASTAR Wireless – AC Network Controller – Network adapters

  • 15.68.9120.47 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Display Audio Intel(R) Display Audio – Sound, video and game controller

  • 10.22.1.100 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.

Surface Laptops:

Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name
Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. driver update for Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth

  • 15.68.9120.47 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) HD Graphics 620 Intel(R) HD Graphics 620 – Display adapters

  • 22.20.16.4749 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Surface driver update for Surface Keyboard Surface Keyboard – Firmware

  • 135.1713.0.0 improves keyboard safe-mode experience.
Surface driver update for Surface System Aggregator Surface System Aggregator – Firmware

  • 135.1704.1.0 improves system stability.
Surface driver update for Surface Trackpad Surface Trackpad – Firmware

  • 2.122.2683.0.0 Improves two-finger scrolling.
Surface driver update for Surface UEFI Surface UEFI – Firmware

  • 136.1736.769.0 improves system stability.
Surface driver update for Surface Dock Integration Surface Dock Integration – Human Interface Devices

  • 1.0.6.0 Improves Surface Dock stability.
Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. driver update for Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller Marvell AVASTAR Wireless – AC Network Controller – Network adapters

  • 15.68.9120.47 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Intel Corporation driver update for Intel(R) Display Audio Intel(R) Display Audio – Sound, video and game controller

  • 10.22.1.100 required to support Windows Mixed Reality features.
Surface – System – 1.1.1199.0 Surface Storage Firmware Update – System device

  • 1.1.1199.0 improves system stability.
Surface driver update for Surface Integration Service Device Surface Integration Service Device – System device

  • 1.0.801.0 improves system stability.
Surface driver update for Surface Integration Surface Integration – System device

  • 2.0.535.0 improves keyboard safe-mode experience.
Surface driver update for Surface Dock Firmware Update Surface Dock Firmware Update – System device

  • 1.2.6.0 Improves Surface Dock update installation and DisplayPort stability.

 

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HULU bring their online video to Mixed Reality

The Hulu app supports all the Mixed Reality Headsets and is available in the Windows Store now:

https://www.microsoft.com/store/productId/9N997353Q2GF

IMO The days of one vendor Apps for this kind of content might be limited.  That’s not to say there isn’t a rosy future for HULU just that what I really want is a content app that offers me content from all providers not just one but for now this is great!

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Medion latest PC builder to introduce a Mixed Reality Headset

German sources are listing a new Mixed reality headset from Medion.

It has a respectable 110 degree Field of View so could be worth a look if you happen to be in Germany – nothing as yet on the UK web site but we will be keeping a close eye on things.

http://www.interdiscount.ch/idshop/jproduct/spielsteuerung-pc/946768/medion-erazer-mr-glasses-x1000-inkl.-controller/detail.jsf

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The most awesome Mixed Reality experience yet!?

OK, It’s Halo but this is a great watch anyway!

Sure I jumped into halo at the end but these videos really do not do the experience justice – just go try it if you get the chance!

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