Work

Citizen Steps into Holographic Design

April 6, 2016 | Citizen Inc.

Citizen Inc.

We’ve augmented our reality! Citizen is now equipped to develop holographic content on Microsoft’s HoloLens platform.

This winter, several Citizens participated in Microsoft’s HoloLens Academy program and, equipped with our fresh skills, we partnered with a leading U.S. healthcare organization to create an application to improve surgical accuracy. The project details are still under wraps, but stay tuned; it will test the boundaries of mixed-reality healthcare practice.

As we explored the platform and began developing the application, we were surprised by the accuracy of gestural actions and the intuitive nature of menu commands. Initially the device seemed suited for gaming or 3D content, but that assumption severely undersells the HoloLens possibilities.

HoloLens (Augmented Reality) in Healthcare | Citizen, Inc. | Portland, Oregon

Image Source: Microsoft

Just as early web developers were challenged by the mobile form factor on a smaller screen, AR/VR designers and developers need to contemplate the navigation logistics inside the lens as well as the interaction between the digital and physical world as the user enters through the navigation portal.

For some experiences, especially task oriented or enterprise use cases, designers are challenged to leverage the lens to create a functional environment that allows the user to conduct normal business in an enhanced way, but one that is not so overwrought with the new technology that it overwhelms the experience. Interaction designer Matt Witkamp agrees, “It was tempting to put so much into the experience to create something that shows off all the capabilities of the device – capabilities that are impressive.”

Witkamp called the experience of designing in HoloLens strange but familiar. “We really had to rethink our interaction conventions; what might be a commonly accepted form of interaction in 2D may fall apart when applied to the 3D holographic space.”

“We really had to rethink our interaction conventions; what might be a commonly accepted form of interaction in 2D may fall apart when applied to the 3D holographic space.”

Citizen Partner Piper Carr likened our experience with HoloLens to that of a digital archeologist, “It feels like we are scraping away the surface of a great discovery, but we won’t know for a while what the ultimate impact will be. How the future unfolds with HoloLens and other mixed reality systems depends on the collective imagination of design teams and clients.”

“It feels like we are scraping away the surface of a great discovery, but we won’t know for a while what the ultimate impact will be. How the future unfolds with HoloLens and other mixed reality systems depends on the collective imagination of design teams and clients.”

As the HoloLens platform evolves along with the developer ecosystem, we have the opportunity to tackle some of the hairiest challenges in healthcare, education, retail, environmental management, you name it. Fellow Portlanders Oregon Story Board and Object Theory are already deeply involved in HoloLens projects in education and structural engineering respectively, and at Citizen we’ve been approached by a number of companies who are intrigued by the possibilities.

For ten years we’ve helped our clients envision, invent and deploy informed mobile strategies and interactive experiences, so it seems like an easy leap into the next realm. HoloLens, you have officially augmented our imaginations.

Author:
Citizen Inc.