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Students demonstrate their Hololens apps after a quarter of VR and AR design



It’s just about impossible to get your hands on Microsoft’s impressive mixed-reality Hololens platform these days — unless you’re a computer science student at the University of Washington. Then you get to play with them whenever you want.

At least that’s the case for the students in CSE 481V, in which, according to the course description, you will “learn a ton about Virtual and Augmented Reality, get familiar with the latest technology and software, and build an app in 10 weeks.”

This is the first time the course has been offered in this fashion, with generous underwriting by local VR/AR players Microsoft, Oculus, and Valve/HTC. The 36 students in the course had access to the Hololens dev team and all the major headsets — there were 25 Hololenses involved, which is probably more than have ever been in one place. Students also got to hear from guest speakers like Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and author Neal Stephenson — whose “Snow Crash” was required reading for the course.

All in all, it’s enough to make a guy want to matriculate.

One of the projects had users flying a virtual paper airplane through AR waypoints.

One of the projects had users flying a virtual paper airplane through AR waypoints.

“We pitched the idea of a VR/AR class last year to Hololens leadership and they immediately got excited and were eager to make it happen,” wrote Steve Seitz, one of the class’s instructors. “I was initially quite worried about the idea of relying on a brand new device and development platform for a 36 person class. But I’m extremely impressed with the development environment… it was good enough that students with no prior experience could get up and running quickly and make some really compelling applications in just a few weeks.”

You can see what those applications were at the course webpage, complete with weekly blog posts showing progress from concept to execution. There’s augmented reality cooking, a painting app, and the clever idea of gamifying the process of scanning a room so it can be used in other apps.

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