Ignite 2017 and the HoloLens Golden Ticket

It’s been really hot lately and as I was slowly walking up the steps towards the Gold Coast Convention Centre and Ignite 2017 with sweat beading on my forehead I started thinking about why Microsoft chose the word “Ignite”. I was wondering “am I likely to spontaneously combust?”.

Clearly Ignite is all about sparking your imagination, opening you up to new experiences and gently fanning the flames of new start-ups. You can feel the excitement as you look around it’s almost as if it hangs in the air like cosmic background radiation and everyone is eager to hear Microsoft’s take on the future.

The first few sessions I attended felt like they were building to something. There was also some mention of an elusive Golden Ticket that would win you some time with a HoloLens.

It was great to see the familiar face of Vaughan Knight again. This time he was demonstrating the use of natural language to interact with a computer. His bot even had some witty responses; when he asked where he should park his car it quipped “where all the other cars are parked” before showing him the way there.

A few sessions later and it seems computing is for the most part going full circle. People used to pay for time on giant computers that filled whole floors of buildings. Then technology advanced and computers got much smaller and you could have your own. Then we filled whole floors with our own computers. Finally we had so many computers we realised we had to do this better. Computers were so fast now that one person couldn’t use a whole one, so we invented pretend computers that could run inside the fast computers and then we could give people a pretend computer. People started realising that all these pretend computers running inside of the fast computers have a lot of duplication and there were bits of the pretend computer that they didn’t even want. So we bundled up the bits we wanted in some sort of pretend container and started giving people those instead. Soon people got tired of messing around with pretend computers and pretend containers and now they just want to pay for some time on a giant computer that fills whole floors of buildings.

Fortunately for us the next phase of making the computers smaller means they are so small that you can comfortably wear them, a screen and a bunch of other technology straight out of science fiction strapped to your head.

The next session I attended was by Lars Klint and Alex Mackey, and these guys actually have a real live HoloLens on stage and are giving an amazing presentation they’ve called “Reality Check. AR & VR for Fun & Profit“.

There’s more talk of that elusive Golden Ticket and apparently you can win one by asking an interesting question… a couple of slides in and they present the following facts:

Screen Refresh Rates of current VR devices:

  • 60MHz – Google DayDream
  • 90MHz – Oculus Rift
  • 90MHz – HTC Vive
  • 90-120MHz – Playstation VR

So up shoots my hand and I nervously ask “How many times a second is that?”… Lars and Alex look at me blankly, there is an uncomfortable silence and then I say “I think you mean Hz not MHz”… more uncomfortable silence… and then Lars recovers by walking over and handing me a Golden Ticket.

I felt like I might spontaneously combust again, Ignite had sparked a burning desire to get my hands on a HoloLens and just like Charlie getting a Golden Ticket to visit Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I now had the means to do that…

Find out what I did with my time in the HoloLens in my next Blog post: Unity plus HoloLens equals Amazeballs.

It’s going to be a lot easier for you to get your head into a HoloLens, simply come along to the next Mixed Reality HQ meeting.

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