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TitleHit Refresh
Author
Tags
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.1 MB
Total Pages193
Table of Contents
                            Title Page
Photo
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Foreword
Chapter 1: From Hyderabad to Redmond
Chapter 2: Learning to Lead
Chapter 3: New Mission, New Momentum
Chapter 4: A Cultural Renaissance
Chapter 5: Friends or Frenemies?
Chapter 6: Beyond the Cloud
Chapter 7: The Trust Equation
Chapter 8: The Future of Humans and Machines
Chapter 9: Restoring Economic Growth for Everyone
Afterword
Sources and Further Reading
Index
Acknowledgments
About the Author
About the Publisher
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 96

was now second nature to how one thought about numbers.
Our industry is full of those eureka moments of discovery. My most startling

moment arrived, surprisingly, on the surface of planet Mars—standing in the
basement of Microsoft’s Building 92.

It was there that I first slipped on a HoloLens device, a small head-mounted
computer that is completely self-contained. Suddenly HoloLens transported me
—virtually, of course—onto the surface of the Red Planet, 250 million miles
away, thanks to a feed from NASA’s Mars rover, . Through HoloLens,
I could see my two street shoes walking, in the most convincing and baffling
way, on the dusty Martian plain near a rocky waypoint called Kimberley along
the rover’s journey to Murray Buttes. HoloLens made it possible for me both to
walk around the actual room—to see a desk and to interact with people around
me—and to inspect rocks on Mars’s surface. That’s the amazing, unprecedented
nature of what we call mixed reality. The experience was so inspiring, so
moving, that one member of my leadership team cried during that virtual
excursion.
What I saw and experienced that day was a glimpse of Microsoft’s future.

Perhaps this particular moment will be remembered as the advent of a mixed
reality revolution, one in which everyone works and plays in an immersive
environment that blends the real world and a virtual world. Will there one day be
mixed reality natives—young people who expect all of their computer
experiences to be immersive blends of the real and the virtual—just as today we
recognize digital natives, those for whom the Internet has always been there?
Companies are taking different approaches with head-mounted computers.

, as provided by our Windows 10 MR devices or Facebook’s
Oculus Rift, largely blocks out the real world, immersing the user in a
completely digital world. Google Glass, for example, projects information onto
your eyeglasses. Snapchat Spectacles let you augment what you see with
relevant content and filters. HoloLens provides access to in which
the users can navigate both their current location—interact with people in the
same room—and a remote environment while also manipulating holograms and
other digital objects. Analysts at Gartner Inc., the technology research firm, have
made an art from the study of the hype cycles and arcs followed by new
technologies as they move from invention to widespread adoption (or demise),
and believe virtual reality technologies are likely five to ten years away from
mainstream adoption.
Just getting to the starting line proved difficult for us. My colleague Alex

Kipman had been perfecting a prototype of HoloLens for some time. Alex and

Page 97

his team had already created one breakthrough: They’d developed Microsoft
Kinect, the motion-sensing technology that today is an ingredient in leading-
edge robots (enabling them to move in a more human-like manner), while also
providing a fun way of using your body to play games on Xbox. However,
Alex’s HoloLens project had bounced around the company in search of
continued funding. It was unclear whether Microsoft would invest in mixed
reality, a new business in an unproven market. The quest seemed so ridiculous at
times that Alex whimsically code-named the project Baraboo in honor of a town
in Wisconsin that is home to a circus and clown museum.
Once I got a chance to see what HoloLens could do, I was sold. While

HoloLens has obvious applications in video gaming, I instantly saw its potential
in classrooms, hospitals, and, yes, space exploration. NASA was, in fact, one of
the first organizations to see the value of HoloLens, adopting an early version to
enable astronauts on Earth to collaborate with astronauts in space. If anyone was
on the fence after the Mars demonstration, Bill Gates’s email after his
experience convinced even the most skeptical.

I was VERY impressed with 2 things about the Mars demo:
First, the fidelity was VERY good. The image looks real and when I moved my head it

felt real. I felt like I was there.
Second, the ability to move physically around the space was quite natural while using

peripheral vision to avoid hitting anything. Although I am still not sure what applications
will take off, the latest demo really has me enthused about the project and that we will
find a way to make this a success. I have been converted.

es, Alex, we’ll invest.

o understand the soul of HoloLens, it helps to understand Alex and his past. In
some ways, our stories have a lot in common. The son of a career government
diplomat in Brazil, Alex moved around a lot as a kid and found that math,
science, and eventually computers were his only consistent companions. “If you
know how to paint with math and science, you can make anything,” he once told
me. His parents bought him an Atari 2600 home video console that he broke
repeatedly but eventually learned to program. His passion for technology led him
to the Rochester Institute of Technology, an internship with NASA, and, later,
highly sophisticated computer programming roles in Silicon Valley.
His quest, however, was to find a place where he could design software for the

sake of software, a place that treated software as an art form. He came to
Microsoft where he would play a role in designing Windows Vista, the long-
awaited successor to Windows XP. When Vista received lukewarm reviews

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About the Publisher

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United Kingdom
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United States
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http://www.harpercollins.com

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