Category Archives: Windows Mixed Reality

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Windows Developer Day Returns!

Windows Developer Day is back! Join us on October 10, starting at 9:30 AM PDT via live stream, or attend a viewing party in your area (location list below), as we explore what’s new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for developers.
The day’s schedule features an introductory keynote by Kevin Gallo and members of the Windows engineering team, a live-streamed Q&A session and several streaming sessions diving deeper into the current Windows 10 update.
Learn what’s new for developers in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
No matter what you’re working on, you’ll find plenty of new features and improvements to make your software more compelling:
Game devs
Game Mode and new performance enhancements improve the gameplay experience for most of your players.
Xbox Live Creators Program lets you integrate Xbox Live into your game and publish to both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Mixer is the only next gen streaming service that offers viewers real-time influence and participation in your players’ live streams.
Windows Store improvements help you promote your games with video trailers and control timing and pricing more precisely.
Commercial devs
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Xamarin lets you use your existing C# and .NET skills to build truly cross-platform apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices.
Desktop Bridge improvements to tooling and more make it much easier to convert your existing Win32 and .NET software to Windows 10.
Windows Mixed Reality delivers new levels of immersion to help you enhance the visual experience of your users.
Consumer devs
Microsoft Graph and UserActivity API make your end-to-end experience seamless by connecting screens and experiences across devices and platforms.
Fluent Design System helps you engage your users continuously across all their devices with beautiful, expressive experiences.
Tooling improvements within Visual Studio make it easier to create, convert and deploy your software.
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Live Stream Viewing Parties
Join other developers from your local developer community and attend a Live Stream Viewing Party hosted by a Microsoft Windows Development MVP. Enjoy refreshments, watch the live stream, participate in the Live Q&A alongside your peers and make new community connections!
Here is a list of the locations: 
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Bonstetten, Zurich, Switzerland
Boston, MA, USA
Chicago, IL, USA
Cologne, Germany
Dresden, Germany
Durban, South Africa
Ghent, Belgium
Manchester UK
Mexico City, Mexico
Milan, Italy
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Moscow, Russia
Munich, Germany
Paris, France
Penang, Malaysia
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Singapore, Singapore
Stockholm, Sweden
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Croatia
Learn more about Windows Developer Day and sign up here!

Making mixed reality: a conversation with Alexandros Sigaras and Sophia Roshal

Dr. Olivier Elemento (left) alongside with his Ph.D students Neil Madhukar and Katie Gayvert, analyze medical network data (photo courtesy of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)
Welcome! This is Making mixed reality, a series celebrating the passionate community creating apps and experiences with Windows Mixed Reality. Here, developers, designers, artists (and more!) share how and why they got started, as well as their latest tips. We hope this series inspires you to join the community and get building!
Meeting Alexandros Sigaras and Sophia Roshal was a lot like mixed reality: a digital-physical fusion. It first happened through a flurry of tweets and emails as Alexandros, a senior research associate at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and Sophia, a WCM software engineer, rapidly prototyped a Microsoft HoloLens application to achieve the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine’s “cancer moonshot,” a promise to empower better and faster cancer research, data collaboration, and accessible care. Soon after I was lucky enough to demo their project in-person. It’s now in the Windows Store as Holo Graph, an app enabling researchers to bring their own network data into the real world to explore, manipulate, and collaborate with other researchers in real-time, be they in the same room or on the other side of the planet.
Find out what makes this team tick, and how they make big data approachable with Windows Mixed Reality.
Sophia Roshal looks at a graph of medical data (photo courtesy of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)
Why HoloLens, and why Windows Mixed Reality?
Sophia: It’s the logical next step. You usually constantly switch from window to window [on a PC]. With HoloLens, you stay in one place. You can just point at something; you don’t have to use your mouse. It’s just so much more of a natural environment, which is great.
The best part of mixed reality for me is seeing other people try it for the first time. They are surprised how well interactions between the real world and holograms work, and are excited to see new updates. The most exciting part is to see the endless possibilities of mixed reality. From games to medical research, there are still many applications of mixed reality to explore.
Alexandros: One of the key questions we get every single time we show HoloLens to someone who is already an avid developer is, “Why HoloLens, and not a 2D screen? Why does this revolutionize our work?” The key answer behind this is simplicity, connecting these dots. The amount of high-quality data that you can parse through with holograms is significantly more than the amount of data that you could create in a table and fuse together in your brain! Tangibility and collaboration are the biggest improvements. It’s like saying the mouse and the keyboard are absolutely great, but phone touch screens are a better user interface. We treat HoloLens as a technology that allows us to go to a higher level, make things more tangible, and remove the challenges of making connections in your brain because you actually see and manipulate them.

Using @Hololens for realtime collaborative & interactive visualization on metabolomic networks @RoshalSophia @ElementoLab @ksuhre pic.twitter.com/JP60UH8Wrs
— Alex Sigaras (@AlexSigaras) August 14, 2017

Who uses Holo Graph?
Alexandros: In a nutshell, the end users for Holo Graph are computational biologists, clinicians, and oncologists. Instead of looking at “big data” in a two-dimensional structure, they immerse themselves and explore and focus on their areas of interest in 3D. There are two scenarios that we currently use with Holo Graph. One is for cancer research and genomics, and the other is metabolomics.
For cancer research, it’s for drug discovery. We want to find how specific drugs relate to specific genes. With our app, I can upload my network that has all of this correlating information, and I can explore it, manipulating and changing the ways I look at data. If I click on a hologram of a drug, I’ll see the drug’s most up-to-date information directly from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – that’s an API tool. If I click on the gene, gene cards will tell me more about that specific gene.
The other use case that we’re doing with our colleague Dr. Karsten Suhre from Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar is metabolomics. Dr. Karsten Suhre has identified connections between metabolites, genes, and diseases such as Crohn’s disease and diabetes. Using Holo Graph he can browse and identify unexpected paths in the network. One of the latest videos that we shared was collaborative sharing and manipulation of this very network on Crohn’s disease to identify if there are unexpected connections to other diseases.
The Holo Graph team comes from the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and the  Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar. From left, Sophia Roshal, Dr. Karsten Suhre, Dr. Olivier Elemento, Dr. Andrea Sboner and Alexandros Sigaras. (Photo courtesy of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)
When did you get started building and designing for Windows Mixed Reality? Any tips for others just beginning? 
Alexandros: We became interested on the platform about two years ago and were delighted to be included in the first wave of HoloLens devices that shipped. Whether on an online forum or a meetup, there are a lot of talented people happy to help you get there and share their experience. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. You will be surprised how many questions have already been answered before! As far as tips go, download and try out apps from the Windows Store and make sure to reach out to the community for any questions.
Sophia: Fragments was the biggest inspiration for me because the virtual characters sit on actual chairs. We recently updated our app to include avatars and do the same thing, and it was really cool to see that! Our avatars follow the person’s movement, and we also use spatial mapping to find the floor because the only point of reference on HoloLens is the head. There are MixedRealityToolkit scripts that finds planes, where you can find the lowest one and that will be the floor. Then you calculate the height between the head and the floor and you can map the avatar from there.
Alexandros: Doing tutorials Holograms 240 with the avatars and Mixed Reality 250 with sharing across devices are excellent examples to see the capabilities here.
Sophia: For someone just beginning, Mixed Reality Academy is by far the easiest way to start building apps. MixedRealityToolkit is the main tool I use. I will write my own scripts most of the time, but if you’re just starting, you have to get it!
What inspires you?
Sophia: Impact on our patients’ lives. Seeing your code making a positive impact in someone else’s life battling with cancer is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. The Englander Institute for Precision Medicine is using cutting-edge technology to go through a sea of data and provide our care team and their patients better treatment options. We believe that AI and devices such as HoloLens are just beginning to show their true potential, and we look forward on what’s yet to come in the near future.
Alexandros: And it’s all about the power of people. The headset doesn’t save someone’s life; the clinician does. But mixed reality helps them see the patterns and get there. With HoloLens we want to answer, “If I were to show you this before you made the call, would that change anything? Would it make your decision and response faster? Would it give you more data?” And every person that we ask nods their head and says, “Yes, it’s right there. It’s almost like I can touch it.” Clinicians are used to reviewing genomic reports that can span up to hundreds of pages requiring significant time and effort. This doesn’t have to be the case though. HoloLens can act as a catalyst by significantly reducing the review time and make an impact at scale when combined with other tools such as AI, machine learning, and deep learning that we also do at the Institute.
Holo Graph can help researchers identify patterns in networks (photo courtesy of The Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)
How are you getting data into your application? Any tips for those who want to do data visualization with HoloLens?
Sophia: The easiest way to load dynamic data into an application is through a cloud integration app such as OneDrive or Dropbox. When you share data across the network to other users you need to consider secure transfer and adopt standard formats. Holo Graph currently supports .csv and XML/GraphML formats on OneDrive. We tend to share data across using JSON.
OneDrive loading has been a great surprise. We used to add files to the backend. With OneDrive, now anyone who wants to can load their data into the experience.
Alexandros: Data and data privacy are of utmost importance to the Institute. The real value of Holo Graph is not just about its looks; it’s about empowering researchers to get their real data in securely. As far as visualizing the data, my tip is to enable your users to break out of the 2D window and put their data on their environment on their terms.
I’m ending with a favorite quote from our conversation. Spoiler alert: mixed reality’s got game!
Alexandros: The way I explain mixed reality is this: Imagine you have a virtual basketball. If you’re throwing it onto the real ground, it bounces off because it knows where the ground is, and there’s “friction.” You can repeat this 100 times and it would happen the same way – you can expect it. It’s literally bringing digital content into real life, allowing you to bend the rules.
Sophia and Alexandros are seriously inspiring. You can connect with Sophia and Alex on Twitter @RoshalSophia and @AlexSigaras.
Want to get started #MakingMR? You can always find code examples, design guides, documentation, and more at Windows Mixed Reality Dev Center. Want more? Check out mixed reality design insights on Microsoft Design Medium. Inspiration abounds!

Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge Updates

When we launched the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge in June, we had big plans for not just a contest, but a way for indie game developers to connect with each other and show off their skills and experience. We didn’t set out to replace existing communities, but maybe we could create a little something that would complement other systems. Our goal is always to help indie developers be as successful as possible, and Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge is just one thing we thought up.
Before I begin, I do want to say that this article is long. I’ve got a lot of cool and important information to share, and rather than break it up into individual posts and have you search for it in multiple places, I’m throwing it all down in one place. Come back and refer to this page as often as you need to. Ok, let’s get started!
State of Play
By the look of it, that contest is generating some great interest from you all. To date there are over 2,000 indie developers from all walks of life signed up on the competition site, and we know there are more to come. And what do I mean by “walks of life”? Well, we have students, we have professional developers trying their hand at building a game, we have dedicated indie studios who want to showcase their talents.
But it doesn’t stop there. We have indie developers from all over the world too. My home country, Australia, is represented, as is the US and the UK. But how about Bangladesh? Yep. Austria? Yep. Greece, Sweden, France, Brazil… The list goes on. Dream.Build.Play is turning out to be a truly global experience.
That’s all great and all, you say, but what about these big plans you mentioned?
Glad you asked.
The Big Plans
This month, we launched phase two of the Dream.Build.Play website. It takes the contest and amps up the stuff you can do with it in a big way, but we’ve tried to do it in a thoughtful way that will help you out for other things too.
As of now, you can log into the Dream.Build.Play website and check out the community of developers who have created profiles. And you can create your own too. Each profile comes with name, country, photo and a brief bio description. But then it can be enhanced with what I consider the special sauce of Dream.Build.Play. Besides that basic biographical info, you can add all the ways people can connect with you, plus all the skills you have, plus all the games you’ve worked on.
Yes, all. First, take connections and networks. You can choose from Xbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on, but you can also add your DeviantArt or Bandcamp accounts, or GitHub, Unity, Unreal or Stack Overflow accounts. And a whole lot more. And if there’s something missing, we’ve got you covered with a Personal Website link. Add as many as you want. Add none. It’s up to you.
When it comes to skills, it gets event better. We’ve built an extensive list of skills, from a variety of programming languages, to middleware and game engines, to more softer skills like game design. But if you want to advertise a skill that’s not listed, just add it in, and as long as it passes our moderation queue, it’ll show up in your profile.
Adding games is where the magic really starts to show through. You can add every game you’ve worked on, and each one comes with its own set of information. From the game’s name and genre, to cover art, screenshots and even a trailer video. And then add a description, and what platform category it belongs to and you’re almost there. Every game entry can have its own set of connections. So if you have a website for your game, a YouTube link, a Twitch channel and a Facebook page, add them all so people can check it out.
Why is this important?
We created the community like this for a very important reason: so you can all connect with each other. Let me give you an example.
Dave is building a game in Unity, but he doesn’t have a single audio engineering bone in his body. But he really wants to enter the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge and potentially win big cash money. I can relate.
Dave heads to the Community page and filters the Skills list for Audio Engineering. In the results pane, he sees a few other members who have that skill. He clicks on Grace’s profile. Dave sees that Grace not only has Audio Engineering as a listed skill, but she also has Unity. Great! She’ll likely know how to incorporate sound into his Unity game.
He can then check out the games Grace has listed, heading to their websites, or videos, and check out the audio that she has created previously. He likes the sounds he’s hearing and decides that he wants to see if Grace would like to join him on his epic journey. He can then return to Grace’s profile and click on any of the Connections she has added and get in touch.
Cool!
Cooler, if they agree to join forces, the Dream.Build.Play website allows them to do just that. All Dave has to do is head to his game page, edit it and add Grace to join his team. Bam! Both will now be listed as being part of the cool game that they’re collaborating on.
I love this community
One of my favorite things about the game developer community, is the willingness of everyone to help out and give people tips, feedback and advice on how to improve or fix their creations. I wanted to flag one great example of that that came out this week: Simon Jackson’s post on Unity and Visual Studio.
Simon and fellow indie dev Jim Perry brought to my attention a small issue between Visual Studio, Unity and Xbox Live. They thoughtfully investigated and figured out a workaround, and for all of you who are actively building UWP games in Unity who want to integrate Xbox Live, Simon has written up their findings on his blog: https://darkgenesis.zenithmoon.com/resolving-build-issues-for-uwp-packages-with-unity/
Also, I also want to highlight that Simon has created a special area on DevPost for Dream.Build.Play here: https://devpost.com/software/dreambuildplayresources. If you’re looking for additional info or resources, or you want to contribute back to the community, please head there and take a look.
Quick recap so far
A quick summary of where we are:
Phase two of Dream.Build.Play has launched. Woo!
You can now add your personal profile, complete with skills, connections and games.
Games can have their own connections, as well as screenshots, videos and more.
Games do NOT have to be for the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge. They can be used to showcase your experience.
You can search the community based on skill.
You can form teams.
One special note. As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, we’ve had (to date) over 2,000 people register to compete. If you look on the Community page and see less than that, that’s because only those people who have created a profile will show up on that page. So get in there and create your profile and make sure your friends and colleagues are heading back to Dream.Build.Play and updating theirs too, so the community fills out.
But wait, there’s more!
I hope you didn’t think we were stopping there. I’ve got some exciting news to share! We’re announcing a new contest as part of Dream.Build.Play: The Developer Diary Contest.
The Developer Diary contest challenges Dream.Build.Play creators and developers to document their journey in building a game. It has some minimal requirements such as needing to do at least five posts or videos, across at least a month in duration, but it’s really about encouraging you all to share your stories with each other.
Talk about a pain point you encountered and tell people how you fixed it. Or maybe something you were pleasantly surprised by when you started exploring UWP. Or how about how Azure made your life easier with some kind of cloud coolness.
Here’s a great example from Tarh Ik who we shared this with just a couple of days ago: https://tarhik.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/antimatter-instance-dev-log-entry-1/
And yes, the game he’s blogging about is indeed on Dream.Build.Play! https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows/dream-build-play/game/7
You’ll have until December 31st to create your Developer Diary and be in the running to win $5,000 cash and the adulation of your peers. Get to it!
Need help?
To finish off this article, I know that creating a game can be tough. But we’re here to help. Not only can you post questions to our Windows Developer Twitter handle or Facebook group, but you can grab a whole bunch of documentation, all conveniently located in one place: The UWP Game Development Guide!
Until next time, good luck, create your profile and add all the games you’ve worked on, and see you in the Dream.Build.Play community!
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled. We may have some other announcements soon.

IFA 2017: Lenovo announces Windows Mixed Reality headset and new 2-in-1 laptops

The Lenovo Explorer is designed to be a natural extension of your Windows 10 PC, allowing you to easily use apps, browse online, watch shows, play mixed reality games, explore and discover through holo-tours, and enhance your video-watching experience via 360° video. Unearth the hidden secrets of Machu Picchu in 1465, glide over Rome in a hot air balloon, live through the “7 minutes of terror” Mars sequence through NASA, take in a 360-degree courtside view of a live basketball game, or just watch shows in your own virtual theatre.
The headset tracks your movements with superior fidelity and spatial awareness, so you can move around naturally in an area of 3.5 by 3.5 meters (about 11.5 by 11.5 feet) without constantly reorienting yourself. No external sensors are needed, which means you can set it up in minutes by simply connecting a cable to your PC. Use the Lenovo Explorer’s optional Motion Controllers or an Xbox controller for easy navigation.
Pricing and Availability: The Lenovo Explorer will be available this holiday. Pricing for the Lenovo Explorer and Motion Controllers will start at US $449; retail pricing of the Lenovo Explorer without the Motion Controllers is $349. Pricing and availability may vary by country.
The Yoga 920 Convertible Laptop

Weighing in at just 1.37 kg (3.02 lbs) and an ultra-thin 13.95 mm (0.55 in), the Yoga 920’s case is all-metal unibody in distinctive platinum, copper or unique bronze color choices.
It arrives built-in with Cortana, your personal digital assistant that helps you get things done more easily and quickly – whether at home, at work or on-the-go. Better yet, we’ve expanded the Yoga 920’s ability to recognize voice commands from up to 4 meters away with Cortana.
Offering pen-on-paper precision designed to give you no discernible lag, the Lenovo Active Pen 2 with Windows Ink allows you to easily draw in the Photos app or add notes to your map, or highlight and markup webpages in Microsoft Edge. Working on a presentation? Use the pen’s shortcut button to open and check email for any last-minute contributions from the team, sketch them into the presentation, add some color and annotations, then send – all without setting down the pen.
Yoga’s signature watchband hinge offers incredible flexibility, including typing in laptop mode, presenting in stand mode, browsing in tablet mode, or watching videos in tent mode.
Other features include:
Up to an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, Windows 10, and twin Thunderbolt 3 ports – each of which support the world’s fastest data transfers and the most video bandwidth available on a single cable, while supplying power.
Integrated fingerprint reader and Windows Hello for secure, instant biometric authentication.
9-inch 4K IPS touchscreen offering dazzling visuals
Available in limited edition Gorilla Glass cover designs: Yoga 920 Vibes, Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Rebel Alliance and Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Galactic Empire.
Pricing and availability: Yoga 920 will start at €1,599.99 (VAT included) in September 2017, and will be available on lenovo.com starting $1,329.99 in October 2017. Yoga 920 Vibes will start at €1,699.99 (VAT included) in October 2017, and will be available on lenovo.com starting $2,099 in November 2017.Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Rebel Alliance and Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Galactic Empire will each start at €1,699.99 (VAT included) in December 2017. All products are available on lenovo.com. Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 910 models will be available on lenovo.com, BestBuy.com and select Buy Buy stores starting September. Stay tuned for more details on upcoming Yoga 920 glass models.
The Lenovo Miix 520 2-in-1 detachable with Windows 10

At home or work or anywhere in between, the Miix 520 is a workhorse with the functionality, detachable form factor, and optional LTE for always-on wherever you are. Detach the FHD IPS touchscreen to use it as a tablet, or use its cutting-edge watchband hinge and full-sized, ergonomic keyboard as a complete laptop. Tablet Mode in Windows 10 delivers a smooth, touch-first experience; your apps will scale smoothly, and onscreen features will adapt for easy navigation. Using the Miix 520’s optional Lenovo Active Pen 2 and Windows Ink, you can sketch and capture concepts on your screen with extraordinarily accurate pen-on-paper precision.
Other features include:
Powered by up to an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory and up to 1TB PCIe SSD, the Miix 520 can run these applications with power to spare.
Optional integrated fingerprint reader for fast and secure login with Windows Hello
Weighs just 1.26kg (less than three pounds) with the keyboard in a slim 15.9mm (0.63 in) profile with keyboard
Pricing and availability: Miix 520 (with keyboard and Lenovo Active Pen 2 included) will start at €899 in November 2017 available on lenovo.com.  Miix 520 (with keyboard and Lenovo Active Pen 2 included) will be available on lenovo.com starting $999.99 in October 2017.
Head over here for more about everything Lenovo announced today, and stay tuned to this page on the Windows Blog for more coming out of IFA.
*Cortana available in select markets.

IFA 2017: ASUS announces Windows Mixed Reality headset and new laptops with Windows 10

Let’s take a closer look at these devices:
ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset

The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset is powered by Windows 10 and designed to bring you immersive real-world and virtual experiences. It features a beautifully unique design with a pattern of hundreds of 3D polygons and a glossy tone-on-tone effect. Weighing under 400g (less than one pound) and featuring a balanced-crown design that that reduces pressure on the nose and face, the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset is cool and comfortable to wear for extended periods.
The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset features innovative inside-out tracking with two built-in front-facing tracking cameras with 6 degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) position tracking. The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset doesn’t need external sensors or additional software, making the initial setup simple so you’re up and running in minutes.
ZenBook Flip 14

ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461) is an extremely thin 2-in-1 laptop with high-performance discrete graphics. Only 13.9mm thin and weighing just 1.4kg, ZenBook Flip 14 features a 360° touch screen and ASUS Pen support, which allow you to do everything from drawing on and highlighting web pages in Microsoft Edge, to drawing on your memories in the Photos app or adding notes to your map route with Windows Ink.
Other features include:
The latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, a 512GB PCIe x4 SSD, and a Harman Kardon audio system
14-inch NanoEdge Full HD display
Up to 13 hours of battery life
Equipped with a fingerprint sensor for quick and secure one-touch login with Windows Hello
Available in two stylish colors: Icicle Gold and Slate Grey
VivoBook Flip 14

The all-new VivoBook Flip 14 (TP401) is a 14-inch convertible laptop that is just 15.4mm thin and weighs 1.5kg. The device features a NanoEdge design that fits a 14-inch Full HD display into a frame that is the size of a typical 13-inch laptop, giving VivoBook Flip 14 a 74.3 percent screen-to-body ratio and a larger display area for more immersive viewing. The Full HD display has 178˚ wide-view technology and can be used as a laptop, tablet, or anything in between. The 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor that powers VivoBook Flip 14 provides powerful, energy-efficient performance. VivoBook Flip 14 has a clever fanless design that keeps noise levels down, even at full power, so you can conduct presentations or watch movies without distractions. ASUS Pen support enables intuitive interactivity with Windows Ink.
ZenBook Flip 15

The all-new ZenBook Flip 15 (UX561) is a powerful and versatile 2-in-1 laptop designed with the convenience and versatility of a 360°-rotatable 15.6-inch display in a stunning new design that is easy to carry anywhere.
Other features include:
The latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and up to 16GB of fast, 2400MHz DDR4 RAM to deliver up to 2X faster performance than the previous model.
Gaming-grade NVIDIA GTX1050 graphics, up to a 2TB HDD and 512GB SSD, USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 and a powerful quad-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
NanoEdge 4K UHD or Full HD touchscreen display has 178° wide-view technology and precision-stylus support, perfect for drawing on and highlighting web pages in Microsoft Edge or using with Windows Ink.
Available in two colors: Smoky Grey and Pure Silver.
ZenBook 13
The new ZenBook 13 (UX331) is an elegant 13-inch notebook with a stunning crystal-like finish and a sophisticated modern design that places it in a class of its own.
Just 13.9mm thin, weighs only 1.12kg and features a slim-bezel 4K UHD NanoEdge touch screen
High-performance NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU
Powered by the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor — which can be boosted to 3.7GHz when needed — with 16GB RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD
VivoBook S14

VivoBook S14 (S410) is a stylish 14-inch thin-and-light laptop that has an 18.8mm profile and weighs just 1.3kg, perfect for those who are constantly on the go. A premium Icicle Gold or Star Grey finish provides stylish looks and a NanoEdge display with a slim 7.8mm bezel gives users a larger display area for more immersive viewing. VivoBook S14 is powered by the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor with up to 16GB DDR4 memory and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics.
ROG Chimera gaming laptop

ROG Chimera gaming laptop with an ultra-responsive 144Hz wide-view display and a 7ms gray-to-gray response time, delivering smooth and seamless visuals never seen before on a laptop. It’s powered by Windows 10 and the latest unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics.
ROG Chimera brings together the best of laptop and console gaming: take advantage of Xbox Play Anywhere and enjoy built-in support for Xbox Wireless, which allows you to connect your favorite Xbox accessories to the PC without the need for multiple adapters, and without having to swap controllers when switching between console and PC.
With the Windows 10 Creators Update, the ROG Chimera arrives equipped with native, live game streaming through the Game bar with Mixer, Game Mode, to battle system resource contention, your gaming community through the Xbox app, DirectX 12 support, and more.
ROG Strix XG35VQ curved monitor
The brand-new ROG Strix XG35VQ is a 35-inch UWQHD (3440×1440) curved monitor with a 100Hz refresh rate, Adaptive-Sync technology and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It features Aura Sync lighting on the back that can be synchronized with in-game audio, or with Aura Sync-enabled PC components, keyboards and mice — allowing for limitless customization possibilities.
The brand-new ROG Strix XG35VQ is a 35-inch UWQHD (3440×1440) curved monitor with a 100Hz refresh rate, Adaptive-Sync technology and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It features Aura Sync lighting on the back that can be synchronized with in-game audio, or with Aura Sync-enabled PC components, keyboards and mice — allowing for limitless customization possibilities.
Learn more about everything ASUS announced today, and head over to this page on the Windows Blog to follow along with more coming out of IFA.

IFA 2017: Dell unveils mixed reality headset, new laptops, and 2-in-1s with Windows 10

Today at IFA, Dell revealed a suite of holiday wish list worthy devices for an immersive and comprehensive computing experience, including the Dell Visor Windows Mixed Reality Headset, Inspiron 7000 2-in-1s and laptops, and performance enhancements to the XPS 13.
Let’s take a look at everything Dell announced today:
Dell Visor looks to the future

Dell announced the new, sleek and comfortable Dell Visor – its first-ever virtual reality headset for Windows Mixed Reality. Engineered with a flip-up visor for convenient transitions, it features well-cushioned head and face padding, thumbwheel band adjustment for personalized comfort, and smart weight balancing that takes pressure off.
The Dell Visor features inside-out tracking cameras, with a 360-degree panoramic view so the headset can scan surroundings instead of satellite emitters positioned inside the room. Dell Visor Controllers offer complete flexibility with six degrees of freedom of movement in a three-dimensional space, and allow total control with haptic feedback, thumb stick and buttons fully tracked by sensors in the headset.
Pricing and availability: The Dell Visor will be available this holiday in the US at Dell.com, Microsoft Store and select Best Buy stores for $359.99, or with the Controllers for $459.99.
New Inspiron Laptops and 2-in-1s offer stunning visual experiences & performance in sleek, affordable packages
 
The new Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 line, available in 13 and 15 inches, brings stunning visuals and powerful performance in a smaller footprint than the previous generation. Enjoy a beautiful visual experience with a narrow border, a standard FHD 10-point touch IPS display and an optional premium 4K UHD IPS touch display that covers 100 percent AdobeRGB and NVIDIA GeForce 940MX on the 15-inch model.
With the Windows 10 Creators Update, you can take advantage of the all-new Paint 3D app and Remix3D.com community, Windows Defender Security Center, Night light, mini view and more. A Dell Active Pen is also available for a natural feel with digital drawing, writing and note taking, so you can draw in the Photos app or add notes to your map with Windows Ink, or highlight and markup webpages in Microsoft Edge.
Other features include:
8th Generation Intel processors, DDR4 memory
Flexible connectivity options with USB Type-C with support for DisplayPort and Power Delivery
Longer battery life and quieter performance with standard SSDs or optional PCIe NVMe SSDs on the 13” version with additional HDD, Hybrid and Dual Drive options on the 15” model.
Pricing and availability: Available in the U.S. on Oct. 3 starting at $879.99 (13”) and $849.99 (15”) on Dell.com; available at select Best Buy Stores in mid-October.
For those who prefer a traditional laptop, the new Inspiron 7000 laptops are the perfect travel companion with the slim, light and thin-bezel design. The Inspiron 7000 offers a brilliant FHD IPS display for a crisp, detailed picture. Its fast, responsive performance is powered by the latest Intel 8th-generation Quad Core CPUs and it offers quick and secure password-free login with Windows Hello, using either the infrared camera or fingerprint reader (on 13” only), as well as a range of storage options including PCIe NVMe SSD.
Pricing and availability: Available in the U.S. on Oct. 3 starting at $799.99.
Dell has also updated the Inspiron 13 and 15 5000 2-in-1s, which offers supercharged performance in a super thin design, and the Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1, the complete package with an expansive display in a flexible form factor, with the latest 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs and DDR4 memory for increased performance when multi-tasking.

Pricing and availability: The Inspiron 13 and 15 5000 2-in-1 are available in the U.S. on October 3 starting at $799 (active pen capable) and $749.99 (not active pen capable) and Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 is available in the U.S. on Oct. 3 starting at $999.99 on Dell.com. Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 will also be available at select Best Buy stores on Oct. 3.
Beloved XPS 13 now 44 percent more powerful 

The 13.3-inch XPS 13 laptop now offers the latest 8th generation Intel Quad Core processors and Dynamic Power Mode. With the new 8th gen processors, with four cores vs. two, you can experience more performance while multitasking.
With Windows 10, this device arrives built-in with Microsoft Edge; your digital personal assistant Cortana;* comprehensive protection with Windows Defender; fast and secure login with the optional fingerprint reader using Windows Hello; and more. The XPS 13 also boasts a stunning viewing experience with optional Quad HD+ InfinityEdge (optional touch) display, with sharp visuals and vivid and accurate color.
Pricing and availability: XPS 13 with Intel 7th Gen Core i3 is available in the U.S. today and starts at $799.99.  XPS 13 with 8th Gen Intel Core i7 will be available in the U.S. starting Sept. 12 for $1399.99, with additional configurations available in October.
You can read more about everything Dell announced today right here, and head over to this page on the Windows Blog to follow along with more coming out of IFA.
*Cortana available in select markets.

Windows Mixed Reality holiday update

We are on a mission to help empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, and one of the ways we are doing that is through the power of mixed reality. Since January 21, 2015, when we announced Microsoft HoloLens, we have seen developers, partners, and customers innovate in ways we have never seen before. As a creator, it is inspiring to see the world embrace mixed reality; to see organizations and developers stretch the boundaries of what we can do with technology. Together we have created the most vibrant mixed reality community out there and it has been phenomenal to share in this journey with our community.  
A little over ten months ago our mixed reality journey took a leap forward when we announced that the world’s largest PC makers were working with us to democratize virtual reality this holiday with Windows Mixed Reality headsets.  
This week at IFA we will be sharing more details on Windows Mixed Reality headsets and I encourage everyone to tune into the news that will be coming out of Berlin.  
As we get ready for a big week with our partners, I would like to share with you some exciting details about our product, including the first wave of content experiences you can immerse yourself in this holiday.
Windows Mixed Reality: easy setup, affordable gear, a range of hardware choices, and immersive experiences 
Easy setupExisting high-end VR headsets with external cameras are cumbersome to set up. For more people to experience VR one of the barriers that needed to be removed was the need for external markers. That is why the Windows Mixed Reality headsets coming this holiday will be the first to deliver VR experiences with built-in sensors to track your physical position without requiring you to purchase and install external sensors in your room. You don’t need to spend hours to set up a single room in your house with a large play space, just plug and play. This also means these experiences are portable – whether you are traveling for work or visiting friends and family, just pack your PC and headset and you can share the magic of mixed reality.  
 Affordable gear
A variety of Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers will be available this holiday from HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Acer.  Headset and motion controller bundles will start as low as $399 and will be compatible with exciting and new PC models starting at $499. Along with our partners, we are committed to making mixed reality affordable. 
Range of hardware choices
When it comes to deciding which hardware is right for you, we know that our customers value choice in brand, industrial design, and features. That is why we created Windows Mixed Reality as a platform for you to enjoy experiences across multiple devices that meet your mobility and performance needs.  
We have talked a lot about the headsets and motion controllers, now let’s talk about PCs that will be compatible with Windows Mixed Reality. This holiday, customers can choose the PC that’s right for them – Windows Mixed Reality PCs and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs. Here is some context on what makes the two experiences different: 
Windows Mixed Reality PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with integrated graphics.  When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 60 frames per second.  
Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 90 frames per second.   
Both configurations will support today’s immersive video and gaming experiences such as traveling to a new country, exploring space, swimming with dolphins, or shooting zombies.  Use your Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers to enjoy a world of discovery and imagination this holiday.  
Immersive experiences
We are working with an incredible set of partners to bring the most immersive experiences to the Windows Store. First, we are excited to announce the first wave of content partners coming to Windows Mixed Reality. Second, it’s my pleasure to let you know that we are working with 343 Industries to bring future Halo experiences into mixed reality.  We are not providing specifics right now, but it is going to be a lot of fun to work with them. 

In addition, I am thrilled to announce that Steam content will also run on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Virtual reality enthusiasts know that Steam is a great place to enjoy cutting edge immersive experiences. We can’t wait to bring their content to you.   
Here is a sneak peek into what you can expect this holiday. We are just getting started and we are honored to work with world class creators and developers.  

Mixed Reality is the future, and we want everyone on the journey with us. For customers, we are creating the best, most affordable mixed reality headsets and bringing you immersive experiences that you will love. For developers, we are making it easy to create great content spanning from simple augmented reality to virtual reality and of course holograms.  
There is more in store for this holiday and I look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming weeks! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on Twitter, and please continue to share your feedback with us. 
Alex

Making mixed reality: a conversation with Lucas Rizzotto

I first met Lucas Rizzotto at a Microsoft HoloLens hackathon last December, where he and his team built a holographic advertising solution. Fast forward to August, and he’s now an award-winning mixed reality creator, technologist, and designer with two HoloLens apps in Windows Store: MyLab, a chemistry education app, and CyberSnake, a game that makes the most of spatial sound…and holographic hamburgers. Little did I know, Lucas had no idea how to code when he started. Today, he shares how he and you can learn and design mixed reality, as well as some tips for spatial sound. Dig in!

Why HoloLens, and why Windows Mixed Reality?
It’s the future! Having the opportunity to work with such an influential industry on its early days is a delightful process – not only it’s incredibly creatively challenging, you can really have a say on what digital experiences and computers will look like in 10, 20 years from now – so it’s packed with excitement, but also responsibility. We are designing the primary way most people will experience the world in the future, and the HoloLens is the closest thing we’ve got to that today.
The community of creators around this technology right now is also great – everyone involved in this space is in love with the possibilities and wants to bring their own visions of the future to light. Few things beat working with people whose primary fuel is passion.
How did you get started developing for mixed reality?
I come from mostly a design background and didn’t really know how to code until two years ago – so I started by teaching myself C# and Unity to build the foundation I’d need to make the things I really wanted to make. Having the development knowledge today really helps me understand my creations at a much deeper level, but the best part about it is how it gives me the ability to test crazy ideas really quickly and independently – which is extremely useful in a fast-paced industry like MR.
HoloLens wise, the HoloLens Slack community is a great place to be – it’s very active and full of people that’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction, and most people involved in MR are part of the channel. Other than that, the HoloLens forums are also a good resource, especially if you want to ask questions directly to the Microsoft engineering team. Also, YouTube! It has always been my go-to for self-education. It’s how I learned Unity and how I learned a ton of the things I know about the world today. The community of teachers and learners there never ceases to amaze me.
Speaking of design, how do you design in mixed reality? Is anything different?
MR is a different beast that no one has figured out quite yet – but one of the key things I learned is that you need to give up a little bit of control in your UX process and design applications more open ended. We’re working with human senses now, and people’s preferences vary wildly from human to human. We can’t micro-manage every single aspect of the UX like we do on mobile – some users will prefer to use voice commands, others will prefer hand gestures – some users get visually overwhelmed quickly, while others thrive in the chaos. Creating experiences that can suit all borders of the spectrum is increasingly essential in the immersive space.
3D user interfaces are also a new challenge and quite a big deal in MR. Most of the UI we see in immersive experiences today (mine included!) is still full of buttons, windows, tabs and reminiscent visual metaphors from our 2D era. Cracking out new 3D metaphors that are visually engaging and more emotionally meaningful is a big part of the design process.
Also, experiment. A lot. Code up interactions that sound silly, and see what they feel like once you perform them. I try to do that even if I’m doing a serious enterprise application. Not only this is a great way to find and create wonder in everything you build, it will usually give you a bunch of new creative and design insights that you would never be able to stumble upon otherwise.
An example – recently I was building a prototype for a spiritual sequel to CyberSnake in which the player is a Cybernetic Rhinoceros, and had to decide what the main menu looked like. The traditional way to set it up would be to have a bunch of floating buttons in front of you that you can air tap to select what you want to do – but that’s a bit arbitrary, and you’re a Rhino! You don’t have fingers to air tap. So instead of pressing buttons from a distance, I made it so players are prompted to bash their head against the menu options and break it into a thousand pieces instead.
This interaction fulfills a number of roles: first of all, it’s fun, and people always smile in surprise the first time they destroy the menu it. Secondly, it introduces them to a main gameplay element (in the game players must destroy a number of structures with their head), which serves as practice. Thirdly, it’s in character! It plays into the story the app is trying to tell, and the player immediately becomes aware of what they are from that moment forward and what their goal is. With one silly idea, we went from having a bland main menu to something new that’s true to the experience and highly emotionally engaging.
HoloLens offers uniquely human inputs like gaze, gesture, and voice. So different from the clicks and taps we know today! Do you have a favorite HoloLens input?
Gazing is highly underestimated and underused – it implies user intention there’s so much you can do with it.  A healthy combination of voice, hand gestures, and gaze can make experiences incredibly smooth with contextual menus that pop in and out whenever the user stares at something meaningful. This will be even truer once eye-tracking becomes the standard in the space.
What do you want to see more of, design wise?
I want to be more surprised by the things MR experiences make me do and feel challenged by them! Most of the stuff being done today is still fairly safe – people seem to be more focused on trying to find ways to make the medium monetizable instead of discovering its true potential first. I live for being surprised, and want to see concepts and interactions that have never crossed my mind and perfectly leverage the device’s strengths in new creative ways.
Describe your process for building an app with Windows Mixed Reality.
I try to have as many playful ideas as I possibly can on a daily basis, and whenever I stumble upon something that seems feasible in the present, I think about it more carefully. I write down the specifics of the concept with excruciating detail so it can go from an abstraction into an actual, buildable product, then set the goals and challenges I’ll have to overcome to make it happen – giving myself a few reality checks on the way to make sure I’m not overestimating my abilities to finish it in the desired time span.
I then proceed to build a basic version of the product – just the essential features and the most basic functionality – here I usually get a sense if the idea works or not at a most basic level and if it’s something I’d like to continue doing. If it seems promising, then the wild experimentation phase begins. I test out new features, approach the same problem from a variety of angles, try to seize any opportunities for wonder and make sure that I know the “Why?” behind every single design decision. Keep doing this until you have a solid build to test with others, but without spending too much time on this phase, otherwise projects never get done.
In user testing, you can get a very clear view of what you have to improve, and I pay close attention to the emotional reactions of users. Whenever you see a positive reaction, write it down and see if you can intensify it even further in development. If users show negative emotional reactions, find out what’s wrong and fix it. If they’re neutral through and through, then reevaluate certain visual aspects of your app to find out how you can put a positive emotion on their face. Reiterate, polish, finish – and make a release video of it so the whole world can see it. Not everyone has access to an immersive device yet, but most people sure do have access to the internet.

CyberSnake’s audio makes players hyper-aware of where they are in the game. Can you talk about how you approached sound design? After all, spatial sound is part of what makes holograms so convincing.
Sound is as fundamental to the identity of your MR experience as anything else, and this is a relatively new idea in software development (aside from games). Developers tend not to pay too much attention to sound because it has been, for the most part, ignored in the design process of websites and mobile applications. But now we’re dealing with sensory computing and sound needs to be considered as highly as visuals for a great experience.
CyberSnake uses spatial audio in a number of useful ways – whenever user’s heads get close to their tail, for example, the tail emits an electric buzz that gets louder and louder, signaling the danger and where it’s coming from. Whenever you’re close to a burger, directional audio also reinforces the location of the collectibles and where the user should be moving their head. These bits of audio help the user move and give them a new level of spatial awareness.
Sound is an amazing way to reinforce behaviour – a general rule of thumb is to always have a sound to react to anything the user does, and make sure that the “personality” of said sound also matches the action that the user is performing thematically. If you’re approaching sound correctly, the way something looks and moves will be inseparable from the way it sounds. In the case of CyberSnake, there was some good effort to make sure that the sounds fit the visual, the music and the general aesthetic – I think it paid off!
Spending some time designing your own sounds sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Grab a midi-controller, some virtual instruments and dabble away until you find something that seems to fit the core of what you’re building. Like anything else, it all comes down to experimentation.
What’s next for you?
A number of things! I’m starting my own Mixed Reality Agency in September to continue developing MR projects that are both wondrous and useful at a larger scale. I’m also finishing my Computer Science degree this year and completing a number of immersive art side projects that you’ll soon hear about – some of which you may see at a couple of major film festivals. So stay in touch – good things are coming!
As always, I’m impressed and inspired by Lucas’s work. You can connect with Lucas on Twitter @_LucasRizzotto and his website, where you’ll find nuggets of gold like his vision for mixed reality and AI in education. And maybe even his awesome piano skills.
Learn more about building for Windows Mixed Reality at the Windows Mixed Reality Developer Center.
Lucas is right about spatial sound—it adds so much to an experience—so I asked Joe Kelly, Microsoft Audio Director working on HoloLens, for the best spatial sound how-tos. He suggests using the wealth of resources on Windows Mixed Reality Developer Center. They’re linked below—peruse and use, and share what you make with #MakingMR!
Spatial sound overview
Designing/implementing sounds
Unity implementation
Programming example video (AudioGraph)
GitHub example (XAudio2)