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This awesome holographic concept device brings Cortana to life

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.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

31 Comments
  • WOW! 
  • Shut up and take my money already!!
  • Outstanding design and implementation. My sincerest compliments to the designer.
  • Whaaat????  Holy cow!!!  Nice dude!
  • Yes!!
  • Awesome, but it needs to be the Halo 4 version of Cortana. She's the best Cortana.
  • I do not like Cry-Baby looking Halo 4 Cortana at all. I prefer the one he used.
  • I've been wanting this cortana since it's launched day. Microsoft need to hire this guy
  • How much?
  • That's amazing! Kudos!
  • the future is holograph and not VR/AR..... at least for me
  • I see you like this hologram.
  • Pappale, I tip my hat to you - I didn't sense any negativity in your comment. You feeling ok? :)
  • Do an in-depth feature interview with Jarem Archer (I suggested earlier dong a behind-the-scenes, dev-focused series). Give him some visibility and get peeks into his work and future plans, ideas, views on MS offerings (MR, etc).
  • Freakin' Awesome!  Love the way that she not only spoke the forecast but pulled up a card and presented that as well.
  • Yup, noticed that too. Awesome use of context awareness.
  • I need this!!! Finally Cortana can be in my living room just like I imagined 😍
  • Awesome stuff.
  • OMG! When and where can I buy this!
  • Really nicely done. I wish I could come up with stuff like this haha. I'd love to get into this stuff. Maybe I should start getting some Raspberry Pi's and messing with them.
  • Nice...
  • This beats any Amazon speakers.
  • Very nice implementation of a classic stage trick. Excellent concept - especially with the added 3D information card (to be honest it would be a bit of a gimmick without the visuals serving a real purpose). LOVE it.
  • I would build one for myself if he gave detailed instructions.
  • Yep, someone needs to put this together as open source.  That said, I can totally understand why he hasn't ... I'm thinking most people who see this would totally throw money at it!  Wonder if he'll Kickstart it?
  • Thats really cute.
  • They sell something like this in Japan already and it costs around $2500.
  • shutupandtakemymoney.jpg
  • Now I don't want Cortana at all unless it is a smaller version of this that I can have several of! Well done dev, well done.
  • Nice work!  We see these sort of display cabinets at Best Buy for certain products.  But, making something like this that customers can use a functional, decorative appliance would be pretty cool.  I can't wait for Cortana in the home.
  • Kudos, this is f...n awesome. Hats off to you.