Are you ready for an Easter in Augmented Reality? Microsoft premiered its HoloLens Easter Egg Hunt at VRLA conference this weekend. As you can see from the image below they created a special set for the Mixed Reality experience. Visitors have 3 minutes to wear the HoloLens and discover bunnies, butterflies, birds, flowers, dogs and of course, easter eggs. It a simple game but it’s a delightful way to bring some whimsical AR to an old tradition.
After the hunt visitors received real chocolate. Yes, we can’t quite trick our taste buds yet, so having the real thing counts. If it wasn’t for the cost of the HoloLens, you can see how a Mixed Reality Easter Hunt version would catch on. And you can totally see younger kids getting into it.
Beyond opening a new Easter Holiday tradition this is a great way to showcase an augmented reality experience. There’s no personal interaction with the eggs here – they do not react to you after being discovered. But once visitors find them, they do go through an animated routine. As with other HoloLens apps, the virtual objects interweave with the room’s freestanding physical features.
HoloLens Easter Egg Hunt
Philippe Lewicki, part of AfterNow’s team that worked with Microsoft explained how the experience works:
There’s mapping that’s done with a depth camera that creates a 3D mesh of the world and that’s synced with head tracking,”
The experience is not a full Mixed Reality interaction, but it certainly moves in that direction. And Microsoft has capitalized on the freedom that comes with HoloLens as an untethered device. You can walk around the set freely without fears of tripping over cables – something we have yet to do with high-end VR headsets. I can’t wait to see it shrink down in size so we can have these kinds of experiences everyday.
While the VRLA fun takes place inside an enclosed space, experiences like the HoloLens Easter Egg Hunt opens a whole other set of questions: what happens as holographic birds, bunnies and dogs start running around while you wait online to get your coffee in Starbucks or as you walk back to the office? We’ve already seen a hint of this in the PokemonGo crazy last year, which put AR on the map for the public. There’s a host of legal questions around intellectual, property and personal data that will come to play in creating AR and MR experiences. It’s one thing when it’s in an enclosed space; another altogether when it’s outside in the public arena. We’ll take a look at this in another post.
For now, those in LA can enjoy some simple AR gaming with the Microsoft HoloLens. Just keep an eye out for those augmented reality Easter bunnies.
Maya Georgieva is an EdTech and XR strategist, futurist and speaker with more than 15 years of experience in higher education and global education policy. Her most recent work focuses on innovation, VR/AR and Immersive storytelling, design and digital strategy. Maya actively writes and speaks on the topics of innovation, immersive storytelling and the future of education and consults organizations and startups in this space.