Innovation

Microsoft ups investment in AR with new Mixed Reality studio for content creators

The Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco will act as a hub for the company's augmented reality and virtual reality efforts.

This week, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco—the flagship hub for the tech giant's efforts in mixed reality (MR).

"We are at the threshold of the next revolution in computing," Liz Hamren, corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices Marketing, wrote in a blog post. To help fuel this opportunity, we are expanding our investment in technologies that enable the broader ecosystem to create for mixed reality worldwide. Our goal is to reach and support partners, creative agencies, studios, application developers, and others to help them create the most immersive mixed reality content possible."

The Microsoft Reactor will act as a community hub for creators and developers to collaborate on mixed reality projects. It will be home to two initiatives: The Mixed Reality Capture Studio and the San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy.

At Mixed Reality Capture Studios, Microsoft workers record holographic video to create holograms of people and performances. Then, audiences can interact with the holograms in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or on 2D screens.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy template (Tech Pro Research)

Since launching the Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio in Redmond, CA, seven years ago, the company has captured thousands of performances from musicians, athletes, actors, educators, and dancers. Along with the new San Francisco location, a third such studio has opened in London as well.

The San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy, also following in the footsteps of its counterpart in Redmond, will provide developers with the tools they need to create content in mixed reality. The most popular courses and workshops offered at the Redmond location will now come to San Francisco, including an introductory discovery program, an expert program, tailored workshops for specific skillsets, and hackathons.

These initiatives continue the investments Microsoft has made in the MR space. The company unveiled the Microsoft HoloLens—the world's first fully self-contained holographic computer—in 2015, and has since partnered with Ford and other enterprises to improve design work and collaboration.

Earlier this month, the company announced a new Windows Mixed Reality headset from Samsung, called the Samsung HMD Odyssey. As TechRepublic's Conner Forrest noted, this is a premium AR headset that could be a strong option for businesses looking to explore the technology.

Microsoft may face competition in the mixed reality space from Facebook-owned Oculus, which recently launched Oculus for Business bundle and a less expensive Oculus Go headset for enterprise use.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. The Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco will act as the flagship hub for the tech giant's efforts in mixed reality, including the San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy and the San Francisco Mixed Reality Capture Studios.

2. At Mixed Reality Capture Studios, people can record holographic videos that audiences can interact with in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or on 2D screens.

3. The Mixed Reality Academy will provide developers with the tools they need to create content in mixed reality.

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Image: Microsoft

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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