Through the looking glass: Adventures with the Hololens

19 November 2018
By Andrew Wilson
top view of Hololens on plastic mount
Hololens sitting on 3d printed mount

This blog post has been a long time coming. I have meant to write about our ongoing Hololens developments for some time. I wanted to start by saying, even after over a year with the Hololens, it still really excites me over all of the other VR/AR technology currently available.

Since I last posted, we have purchased three more Hololens. This expansion was to enable multi-user experiences, something which I think makes the Hololens and AR stand out from VR in a classroom environment. These extra Hololens have helped me to work on two fascinating projects; Spectator-view and Shared Reality view, both utilizing multiple units.


showing camera, Hololens, and mount all fit together
Camera visible on Hololens (right)

We have had the Hololens for over a year now and only have one video demonstrating it. This is due to how difficult it is to record the AR via the Hololens. Microsoft thought of this and created Spectator-View. The spectator-view allows you to plug in a digital camera and Hololens into a computer and stitch together the images from both. This means you can record the Hololens at much higher resolution. But to do this, you need a second Hololens and a mount to hold it onto the digital camera.

3D printed plastic mount
3D printed Hololens mount

So second Hololens, check, Hololens mount, check (see the picture: I 3D printed one over the summer). Now came the hard part. Although Microsoft has created the software for Spectator-View, they don’t package it up in a nice easy application. You have to build it yourself via the source code. After a few hours of debugging, I finally got all of the required applications working. This is our current setup.

I am looking forward to making some new Hololens videos.

Shared Reality view

The second package I have been working on is a shared reality experience where the users get to explore an archaeology site, Bryn Celli Ddu, and its associated data. Similar to the spectator view, Shared Reality allows each Hololens user to see the same hologram within the same space. This will enable us to create shared experiences, for teaching this is a vital tool.

Being able to all see and interact with the same object within in the same space. This adds a whole new level to AR allowing for more social interaction, not isolating the user in their own `realities’ like VR or single user experiences.

This shared reality experience was demoed at GIS day.


  • 2018-11-20 09:40:11
    Dann Hurlbert

    Looking forward to those videos!

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