Talking to Cortana from the confines of your computer screen or phone is nice and all, but what if you could speak to Cortana as a hologram (à la Halo)? One developer, Jarem Archer, has set out to do just that with a concept holographic device that brings Cortana to life with all of the digital assistant's services built in. Check it out in action below:
Archer explains the device's setup on his website:
So, this a Pepper's Ghost hologram that uses Windows 10's native Cortana experience. It's all powered by a Windows 10 device with 4GB of RAM and a built-in Arduino used for controlling the platform lights. There's a portable USB monitor on the top that reflects on 3 panes of mirror glass. The enclosure itself is a custom design I modeled. I then 3D printed each part of the assembly in PLA. There's also an omnidirectional microphone that sits on top of the unit, and a decent mini speaker built into Cortana's pedestal on the base.
The software it runs is essentially in two parts: A Unity 3D app that presents and animates Cortana in three different camera angles and communicates to a second app: a proxy service that parses data going to and from the native Cortana web service. The proxy app renders the HTML from Cortana result queries which is then presented in the Unity app. It also features real-time face tracking with the front-facing camera which moves the rendered camera perspective relative to a single viewer's head position - this makes it look a bit more 3 dimensional when facing it. The app also controls an LED strip surrounding the edge of the platform.
The device is still a little rough around the edges, but it's an awesome look at what can be accomplished with a 3D printer, some coding and motion capture, and the default Windows 10 Cortana experience. Plus, this is just plain cool for fans of Cortana's roots in the Halo universe.
While we may not be getting a holographic Cortana assistant in any official capacity soon, Microsoft is working with hardware partners to bring Cortana to more standalone devices like the recently revealed Harman Kardon Invoke speaker.