General Availability of Windows Server and Hyper-V Containers in Windows Server 2016

The general availability of Windows Server 2016 marks a major milestone in our journey to bring world class container technologies to Windows customers. From the first time, we showcased this technology at //build in 2015, through the first public preview with Technical Preview 3 onto today with general availability, our team has been hard at work creating and refining this technology.  So today we are excited that it is available for you to use in production.

With each preview release we have tried hard to continue improving these technologies and today is no exception. We have increased the performance and density of our containers, lowered their start-up times and even added Active Directory support. For example, with Hyper-V Containers, we are now taking advantage of new cloning technology designed specifically to reduce start-up times and increase density. We heard your feedback, and we are excited to be expanding cross-SKU support such that you can run Windows Server Core containers using our Hyper-V Container technology including on Windows 10 Anniversary Update as well as Windows Server Containers with Nano Server on a Windows Server 2016 host installed with Server Core or Desktop. These are just a few of the enhancements we are excited to be bringing you with Windows Server 2016, our documentation site has for more information on features as well as guides to get you started.

Along with this release, in partnership with Docker Inc. the CS Docker Engine will also be available to Windows Server 2016 customers. This provides, at no additional cost, users of Windows Server 2016 enterprise support for Windows containers and Docker.  Please read more about this announcement on the Hybrid Cloud blog.

In the coming days, we will also be releasing a OneGet provider which will simplify the experience of installing and setting up the Containers feature including the CS Docker Engine on Windows Server 2016 machines. Please stay tuned for more from our team and also remember to give us feedback on your experience in our forums, or head over to our UserVoice page if you have any feature requests.

Ender Barillas
Program Manager and Release Captain for Windows Server and Hyper-V Containers

How to develop augmented reality apps with Vuforia for Windows 10

Augmented Reality is a way to connect virtual objects with the real world, making it possible to naturally interact with them by use of mobile devices like phones, tablets or new mixed reality devices like HoloLens.

Vuforia is one of the most popular Augmented Reality platforms for developers, and Microsoft partnered with Vuforia to bring their application to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

Today, we will show you how to create a new Unity project and develop a real AR experience from scratch for devices running Windows 10.

image1

You can download the source for this application here, but I encourage you to follow the steps and build this yourself.

As we’ve noted, augmented reality is the creation of a connection between the real world around you and a virtual world. One of the ways to make this connection is to use real objects like cards or magazines, and then connect them with virtual objects rendered on a digital interface.

What are we going to develop?
This article consists of two parts. In Part 1, we will get you up and running with Vuforia, an augmented reality SDK. This includes creating an account, configuring it and getting the SDK. In Part 2, we will develop an app that detects the front cover of a boating magazine, then render the boat on the front cover in 3D. You can then look around the boat and see it from all different angles.

Part 1: Getting started with Vuforia 6

The first thing we need is an account at https://developer.vuforia.com/.

This is needed so we can get the free license key as well as a place to upload our markers. A marker can be any image, and is used by Vuforia to connect a real world object with our virtual world. In this article, we will use one marker – an image of the font cover of a magazine.

You can download this front cover here:

image2

1) Creating a license
After logging in click Develop, then Add License Key:

image3

This will take you to a form where you can set the details of this license. They can be changed and removed later.

Fill it out like this, using your own application name:

image4

2) Creating our markers
Now that we have a license, we can go ahead and create our markers. All of the markers can be added to a single database. Still in the Develop tab, click Target Manager and Add Database:

image5

Fill out the form that pops up. It is needed to create a database for our markers. This database will be downloaded and added to your app locally – on the device itself – so select Device as the database type:

image6

Once created, click the MagazineCovers entry in the database list to open it:

image7

Now we are ready to add the targets. In the MagazineCover database view, Click Add Target:

image8

A new form will show, where you will need to select the image you want to use, its width and a name. Select the magazine front cover I provided earlier, set the width to 8.5 and name it cover1. Click Add to upload it and generate a marker:

image9

Once uploaded, you will see it in the database view:

image10

Done! Next, we will create a new Unity project and add the Vuforia SDK to it.

3) Creating a new Unity Project

If you don’t have Unity yet, you can go ahead and download it here: http://unity3d.com/. A free personal license is available.

Start Unity, and from the project creation wizard, ensure 3D is selected and name the project “MagAR”:

image11

Then click Create project.

4) Downloading the Vuforia SDK

When the project is created, we need to import the Vuforia SDK for Unity package. It can be downloaded from here (take the latest version): https://developer.vuforia.com/downloads/sdk

image12

Once downloaded, you can simply double-click the packaged file to import it to your solution:

image13

Once extracted, a popup like this will show. Click Import to add the Vuforia SDK to your project. Your solution should look something like this:

image14

5) Adding our Marker Database to our project

Now that we have the Vuforia SDK installed, the last thing we need to do is to add the marker database we created earlier to our project.

Go back to the Vuforia Developer portal, and click the Download Database (All) button from your MagazineCover database:

image15

Select the Editor as the development platform and click Download:

image16

Once compiled and downloaded, you can just open the Unity package file to import it to your project:

image17

You can see from the import dialogue that we got the cover marker, as well as the database itself. Click Import and you are all set to start developing!

Your solution should look something like this:

image18

Part 2: Developing the app!

Now that we have the Vuforia SDK installed as well as the markers we need, the fun can begin.

Vuforia comes with a set of drag and drop assets. You can take a look at them in the Vuforia/Prefrabs folder as seen below:

image19

Vuforia uses a special camera called ARCamera, highlighted above, to enable tracking of markers. Every Vuforia project will need this. This special camera has a lot of settings and configuration possibilities (which we’ll take a look at shortly), and will be able to detect real world objects using, in this case, the front cover of a magazine. Vuforia will then place a virtual anchor on the cover so we can get its virtual position and orientation for use in our virtual world.

Another thing we will need is the target itself. This is the prefab named ImageTarget, and it is also configurable. Let’s go ahead with the development.

1) Adding the ARCamera to our scene and configuring it

a) Add camera
From the Vuforia/Prefabs folder, drag and drop the ARCamera prefab into your scene to add it. You can delete the GameObject called Main Camera from the scene since we want to use the ARCamera as our view into the scene instead:

image20

Next, click the ARCamera prefab to see its properties in the Inspector. This component is the heart of your application and requires some simple setup. The first thing it needs is your app’s License Key.

b) Getting license key
Go to the Vuforia Developer Portal, select your license and copy the entire Vuforia License key from that gray box in the middle of the screen:

image21

c) Setting license key
Next, in the ARCamera inspector, paste the license key to the App License Key box:

image22

d) Setting how many images to track
Another setting we want to verify is the Max Simultaneous Tracked Images setting – we want to have one cover magazine on the table at a given time, so make sure this is set to 1. This can be changed based on your needs:

image23

e) Setting world orientation
Next we want to make sure that we orient the world around our camera, so set the World Center Mode to CAMERA to achieve this:

image24

f) Loading our database
We also want to load and activate the Magazine Covers database, so tick the Load Magazine Covers, and activate it. 

image25

g) Testing the ARCamera
At this point, we should be able to test our ARCamera – it won’t take any virtual actions but, if set up properly, we should be able to see the output from the web camera.

To test, click the play button on top of the scene view. You should be able to see what the camera sees and the Vuforia watermark:

image26

2) Adding our first basic marker

Markers are added to your scene using the ImageTarget prefab. These can then be configured to your liking, as well as selecting what marker it will use for detection. In Unity, each item added to your scene is a GameObject – think of this as your base class. Each GameObjects in your scene can have multiple children and siblings.

The way an ImageTarget works is that it can have child GameObjects and, once the magazine cover is detected, these child GameObjects will become visible. If the card isn’t detected, the children will be hidden.

a) Adding an ImageTarget
Adding an ImageTarget is as simple as adding an ARCamera, just drag and drop the prefab to the scene hierarchy view:

image27

b) Configuring the ImageTarget
We now need to configure which marker the ImageTarget will use. Select the ImageTarget and view its properties. Find the Database and Image Target properties.

First, set the Database to MagazineCovers, then set the Image Target to cover1:

image28

You can see that it automatically populated some of the fields.

c) Spawning a boat on top of the marker!
Now – let’s spawn a boat on top of the marker! I purchased a nice boat from the Unity Asset Store. There are other boats available that may be free: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/23181

Navigate to the folder for your asset, then drag it (or its prefab) onto the ImageTarget so it becomes a child of the ImageTarget.

image29

Then, position/scale the boat so it fits on top of the ImageTarget (the magazine cover).

Looking at the scene view, you can now see the magazine cover with the boat on top of it:

image30

d) Testing if it spawns
Let’s go ahead and run the app again. Place the magazine on the playfield (in front of the camera) and the yacht will become visible on top and will track if you move the marker.

e) Adding details
You can add even more things to the scene, like water, and can change the lighting so your scene becomes more realistic. Feel free to play around with it.

3) Exporting as a UWP

Getting your experience running on a Windows 10 device will make the experience even better, since your tablet has the ability to easily move.

To export the solution from Unity, go to File -> Build Settings:

image31

From this dialogue, set the Platform to Windows Store and the SDK to Universal 10 and click Build. A new dialogue will ask you to select a folder to export to; you can create a new one or select an existing one – it’s up to you. Once the export is done, a new UWP Solution is created in the selected folder.

Go ahead and open this new solution in Visual Studio 2015.

4) Testing the app

Once Visual Studio 2015 has loaded the solution, set the Build Configuration to Master and the Platform to x86, and build and run it on your local machine:

image32

Verify that the application is running and working as it should.

5) Adding a simple UI using XAML

Let’s also add a simple user interface to the app using XAML. To do this, open the MainPage.xaml file from the project tree and view the code. It should simply consist of a SwapChainPanel with a Grid in it, like so:


<SwapChainPanel x:Name="DXSwapChainPanel">
    <Grid x:Name="ExtendedSplashGrid" Background="#FFFFFF">
<Image x:Name="ExtendedSplashImage" Source="Assets/SplashScreen.png" VerticalAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Center"/>
    </Grid>
</SwapChainPanel>

You might also want to decorate the screen with a logo and some lines to make the UI look neat and clean. To do this, we need a file from the downloadable source (/Assets folder) called SunglobePatrick26x2001.png. Add this to your solutions Assets folder.

Next, change your XAML code to be similar to this:


Next, change your XAML code to be similar to this:
<SwapChainPanel x:Name="DXSwapChainPanel">
    <Grid x:Name="ExtendedSplashGrid" Background="#FFFFFF">
        <Image x:Name="ExtendedSplashImage" Source="Assets/SplashScreen.png" 
VerticalAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Center"/>
    </Grid>
    <Rectangle Fill="#FFF3C000" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Height="3" 
Stroke="#FFF3C000" VerticalAlignment="Top" Margin="360, 64, 24, 0"/>
    <Image VerticalAlignment="Top" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="24, -80, 0, 0" 
Width="300" Source="Assets/SunglobePatrick26x2001.png"></Image>
    <Rectangle Fill="#FFF3C000" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Height="3" 
Stroke="#FFF3C000" VerticalAlignment="Bottom" Margin="24, 0, 24, 64"/>
    <CommandBar VerticalAlignment="Bottom" IsOpen="True" Background="#00000000" 
Foreground="#FFF3C000" Margin="0,0,18,0">
        <AppBarButton Icon="Edit" Foreground="#FFF3C000" />
    </CommandBar>
</SwapChainPanel>

What we’re doing here is using the XAML tags to add two rectangles, used as lines, for a minimalistic UI, as well as adding the logo for the boat.

Run the app again to see the UI on top of your rendering canvas:

image33

That’s it! You now know how to develop AR applications for Windows 10 devices!

Wrapping up

To sum up, we created an AR experience for Windows 10 with the following simple steps:
1) Create an account at the Vuforia Developer Portal
2) Acquire a license
3) Created a Unity project using the Vuforia SDK
4) Exporting the Unity project as a UWP app for Windows 10
5) Added a simple UI using XAML

Download Visual Studio to get started.

The Windows team would love to hear your feedback.  Please keep the feedback coming using our Windows Developer UserVoice site. If you have a direct bug, please use the Windows Feedback tool built directly into Windows 10.

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Microsoft announces global expansion for HoloLens

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2016 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced that Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, is now available for preorder in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with devices starting to ship in late November.

The news comes while HoloLens is experiencing tremendous excitement and interest from developers and commercial customers and partners around the globe.

“Since the launch of Microsoft HoloLens, we have seen really passionate developers and world-class companies develop groundbreaking computing experiences — experiences only possible on HoloLens,” said Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. “When we set out to pioneer the mixed-reality category, we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology. It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”

Commercial customers breaking new ground with Microsoft HoloLens

Since the launch of HoloLens, Microsoft has seen innovation happening across the board as a diverse set of companies and partners breaks new ground within its industries using HoloLens as a means to transform their business. Here is what a few of these companies have had to say about their experience with HoloLens.

Case Western Reserve University: “This device allows us to engage students in unprecedented ways,” said Mark Griswold, faculty director for Case Western Reserve’s Interactive Commons and leader of the university’s work with Microsoft HoloLens. “The HoloLens allows students to explore the world in completely new ways. The mixed-reality view means students and faculty can interact with one another and the holographic information the entire time, preserving the critical human connection that is such an essential part of learning. We have just begun to explore the potential of HoloLens, and I am already confident that in time the device will be as common in student backpacks as laptops and smartphones.”

Lowe’s Home Improvement: “At Lowe’s we’ve endeavored to build a mixed-reality solution to help change the future of our retail experience. When we saw HoloLens, we knew we had found a solution that would allow us to create a collaborative process, enabling customers to make decisions about their home improvement projects quickly and confidently,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “We’re investing the most valuable thing we have: our time and our focus. Microsoft’s deep history of delivering meaningful solutions with other companies assures us that our partnership will help provide a differentiating customer experience.”

thyssenkrupp: “With elevators transporting over 1 billion people each day, we have a critical role to play in keeping cities moving. At thyssenkrupp, we are focused on leading the much-needed transformation of the global elevator industry to dramatically increase the efficiency and availability of elevators, and HoloLens is a key element in helping us achieve these goals,” said Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator. “The application of HoloLens in our operations can reduce service intervention times by up to four times, and such a feat was only made possible through our strong collaboration with Microsoft.”

NASA: Our partnership with NASA brings mixed reality to space exploration and discovery, creating new experiences and educational opportunities for scientists and consumers alike. Together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we have created four groundbreaking mixed-reality applications. The OnSight project enables scientists to use HoloLens to “work on Mars” together, directly from their offices, allowing them a means to plan and, along with the Curiosity Mars Rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet. By extending the OnSight project, in September we opened “Destination: Mars” at the Kennedy Space Center to the public, which allows visitors the only opportunity possible today to walk around the Red Planet, just as NASA scientists do today. The Sidekick project brought HoloLens to the International Space Station to enable station crews to get remote expert assistance when and where they need it, reducing crew training requirements and increasing the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space. The NASA team created the ProtoSpace HoloLens application to build the next generation of spacecraft and space rovers; the application brings 3-D spacecraft designs into the world to help improve the design process.

With today’s global expansion of HoloLens, more commercial partners are set to deliver new experiences that will allow their employees and customers to discover new ways to work.

Airbus: “Airbus believes in mixed-reality technologies, which are already deployed within our products and processes. Microsoft HoloLens is a promising platform, bringing mobility and new ways to consume and link users with digital information. Following our co-development with Microsoft teams, the device is concretely being tested and challenged in various environments across the company to understand if the technology will meet our business expectations. It is a very exciting phase, and we are looking forward to sharing concrete results based on our investigation.”

Audi: “Audi is invested in leading the future of automotive design through the use of cutting-edge technologies. A technology like Microsoft HoloLens could open up new opportunities for our services in many ways — from engineering reviews and collaboration to after-sales scenarios and new ways of customer experiences. There are many use cases to be realized,” said Jan Pflüger, Coordination Augmented and Virtual Reality at Audi IT. “A mixed-reality solution like HoloLens seems very promising in helping us improve service quality, innovate on our customer communication, and cut time and costs required for maintenance. We see an exciting future in this technology and look forward to expanding its use at Audi.”

Saab: “Microsoft HoloLens is the perfect platform for learning, collaborating or visualizing complex information,” said Inger Lawes, Saab Australia’s Mixed Reality Applications Program Head. “For example, in the training environment, it allows both trainers and trainees to share a visually rich interactive experience where the real world can be overlaid with fully interactive holograms. This technology is transformational, and we have had significant interest from a diverse range of industries such as healthcare and mining, keen to understand how Microsoft HoloLens and tailored mixed-reality applications can add new value to their businesses.”

Microsoft’s mixed-reality movement is just beginning

Today, HoloLens customers are developing innovative solutions that are already having a positive impact on their business. These customers are the early adopters of the kind of mixed-reality solutions that are poised for exponential growth in the years to come. According to IDC, “worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.1” Windows 10 will be updated in 2017 to include Windows Holographic, the platform that powers the mixed-reality experiences enabling people to perceive the world differently, break down barriers, and bring the virtual and the physical worlds together. In June at Computex, we announced that Windows Holographic is coming to Windows 10 PCs and head-mounted displays to deliver incredible new mixed-reality experiences. The development opportunity is significant — as all holographic apps are Universal Windows apps, and all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform. This means the investments that developers of all shapes and sizes make today will take advantage of the growing ecosystem of Windows Holographic devices.

Microsoft HoloLens available to preorder in new countries now

Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the United States on March 31, 2016. Microsoft HoloLens is now available to preorder exclusively from the Microsoft Store in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with devices starting to ship in late November.

More about the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition and Commercial Suite, and Windows Holographic can be found here.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

1 IDC Press Release, “Worldwide Revenues for Augmented and Virtual Reality Forecast to Reach $162 Billion in 2020, According to IDC,” Aug. 15, 2016

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.