Monthly Main Meeting Highlights
At - Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street
October 2017 Main Meeting
Tonight, the guys from the Microsoft store returned for the second of their visits. This time we had a good look at Microsoft Edge and the fabulous Mixed Reality
The First Session
First on stage was Jacky Wong who introduced us to some new features in the Microsoft Edge Browser. Edge now has Extensions. They are like the extensions you may be familiar with in the Chrome browser. They are apps from both Microsoft and third-parties that run in Edge. Jacky showed us his favourite “Translator”.
Finding and installing extensions is like using the Windows Store or the Google Apps store. Click on the settings and more menu,
and scroll down to extensions
Then Click on Extensions which takes you to this screen
If you had no extensions this screen would be empty. To find an extension click on “Get extensions from the Store”
Jacky had already installed Translator, but it is the green icon with the "a" on the bottom line
When you click on it you are given a description of the app including its cost, Translator is free. Just like the Google Store you find screen shots and customer comments
It’s interesting to note that 10 people have rated it at 5 stars and 7 at 1 star
If it’s what you need click “get” and it downloads.
On completion hit launch
The first time you run Translator you are directed to this help page
When you can run the app, this little icon sits in the address bar.
Jacky then had fun demonstrating Translator by finding out how our site read in various languages
Clicking on the icon we get a translation menu and you can pick from a drop-down menu of languages to translate to.
Jacky asked what languages people spoke, someone suggested Hindi.
To return to the original page you click “Show original page”.
We then looked at translating into Chinese
Up to this point we had been translating from English to a foreign language so then Jacky showed how to translate from a foreign language back to English.
Jacky opened the Official Chinese search engine Baidu
then used it to translate the Chinese
it was not very great on the grammar.
The English translation of the second point read “The 19 members of the Central Committee Alternate member List of the members of the Central Commission for discipline inspection”
This may explain the divergent options on how good the Translator is. One final point, if you don’t know the language of the page, Translator will identify it for you.
Jacky then moved on to show us the new “Mixed Reality Viewer” coming in the Falls Creators update.
The mixed reality viewer combiners your PCs camera with 3D images to create a “mixed reality” a combination of the real and the 3D.
Jacky demonstrated this by having his Dinosaur try to eat Bob.
You can combine the objects in the mixed reality viewer with images in the 3D Paint app.
I added a Dinosaur to the Laptop camera image and now have my own pet dinosaur.
You can also print to a 3D printer in either the Viewer or Paint 3D.
One use Alex noted is the idea of taking a piece of furniture you like and placing it in your room using the Viewer and your PCs camera.
The Second Session.
After the break
Patrick Hines took the stage to show us how real Mixed Reality can be.
We have all heard of virtual reality where you put on a set of goggles, and you are on the deck of the Enterprise fighting the Borg. Mixed reality is a little different. Here the goggles have cameras that see the real world and you experience a blending of the real or outside and the virtual.
Microsoft achieves this with the variation of the HoloLens. The HoloLens works by projecting light into the eye over what we can see through the goggles. Its scalable and only limited by the area you are viewing.
Unlike the HoloLens the Mixed Reality headsets are sealed.
Patrick then spoke about the headsets. The one he had was a Dell.
There are currently two headsets available in the store, the Dell and an HP. Both are the same price $799 and both come with controllers.
There are others available in the US which will be coming to Australia soon. PC Authority has a review of the new Acer headset.
With the Falls Creator Edition, you may now see this icon on taskbar.
It indicates you have a mixed reality PC. The headset has one cable with an HDMI and a USB on the end. The headset uses the spatial mapping technology of the HoloLens. No need for accelerometers or infrared tracking devices that Oculus and other VR technologies use.
Paul clicked on the Mixed Reality Portal menu
and opened the app
Then Paul spoke briefly about the place of Mixed Reality in Microsoft. Mixed Reality along with artificial intelligence or AI which include things like Cortana, Siri, Goggle assistant and Alexa and quantum computing will be the focus for Microsoft for the next ten years. For Mixed Reality the aim is to see any ordinary pair of glasses become a Mixed Reality headset.
Continuing with the headsets, they turn on by simply plugging them in and putting them on. A sensor in the headset will open the portal. This is controlled through these wands
and unlike the other VR setups which need more external sensors, the lights on the wands are picked up by the headsets cameras telling the app the position of the wands.
The wands are made by Microsoft and you get two with every headset.
Once you have the head set and the wands you can calibrate the space.
Patrick had already set up a space but he showed us how to do it at the end.
You may just see the ripple effect which Paul made when his wand penetrated the boundary of the space he set up. You need to set a boundary so you don’t hit walls and other objects within the space.
When you start, Cortana runs through an introduction, so we followed Paul as he went through it.
To move from one place to another you can point to the location and a red line will show you the path.
Pointing the wand creates a circle that
will form at the target, you pull the trigger and your transported. You could walk to the spot however you are restricted by the space you defined at the start so this lets you “teleport”.
All the action starts in this magnificent house.
Why a house? Paul explained that rather than present, say a file browser the house is a portal and the rooms became sort of blank folders. You can place content, that is folders, files or apps in any room in the house the portals house is the file browser and we can go from room to room exploring the content.
Here’s the games room.
Cortana was instructing Paul on how the wands worked.
Paul has opened the Microsoft Store
and just like furnishing a house he can place the store on a wall, the floor, even the celling.
Here the portal is saying “drag to move” and Paul placed the game on the wall.
It will also react to voice so when the window is in the correct place you can say “done” and the windows is fixed.
Next, Paul placed the Edge Browser over the sea,
he then brought up a keyboard and found our site in Edge.
Next He then showed us HoloTour, the Virtual tour guide. Paul took us on a virtual tour of Machu Pitu which he had just demonstrated to students from Rooty Hill High School that day. It’s a demonstration of how Mixed Reality can be used for education.
As each student had a headset they were free to explore the site on their own, not going with the group.
As Paul moved around the stage we could see the view he saw in the goggles change on the screen.
You need to be careful not to step outside the boundaries or you lose the view.
Paul then moved back to the house and continued to show what was on offer. He started to decorate the house. Here we see him trying to find a nice place for this pot.
Paul decided to have a roof party so he put a rug on the roof and dragged the Edge Browser up to read about last month’s meeting.
Then we looked at the home theatre room in house.
Be warned, don’t try sitting on the Virtual lounge, as one customer did!
Once the room was set up Paul looked at the screen and the movies
While the screen looked small to us to Paul it was a huge, iMax style. You can channel your Netflix, YouTube and other movie streaming onto the screen.
But enough of the serious stuff. It was time to have fun and first up was “Space Pirates”
You can see the gun controls Paul is using to shoot the pirate ship.
A little surfing
Skiing down Mt Kosciusko? Note the great shadows.
Then Paul took us to Mars on this simulation of Elon Musk’s Space X project.
Here is a game where you stop time by not moving.
It gives you time to see where the bullet went. The games we saw in the demonstration are all free.
Mixed Reality has real world uses. Paul told us of a Real Estate agent who is developing Mixed Reality into a virtual tour of the houses for sale.
The specs needed to run Mixed Reality are a seventh-generation processor but it doesn’t have to be an i7. It does need a minimum of 4 GB of ram but doesn’t need a dedicated graphics card.
If in doubt you can download or run the “Windows Mixed Reality PC Check" from the Microsoft store.
My desktop with its new “gaming motherboard?” and Falls update won’t run it because its running 32 bit.
This is the result on my i7 laptop.
The graphics driver is out of date. The PC needs a Bluetooth 4 and the Windows 10 version is to old, it needs the Falls Creators Edition.
To finish off we had a look at how we set up the game area.
There are two setup scenarios, a desktop or an open space.
Paul setup for the space available on the stage. First you create a map by pointing the goggles at the PC.
Then still pointing the goggles at the PC walk around the available space to make the map
You need about 5 by 7 feet that’s 1.5 by 2 metres
Once you have traced your space you have a boundary.
Here’s how it looked inside the “House”
Tonight, Microsoft donated the Arc Mouse valued at $119.
And we had a host of other great prizes
Here are some of the winners