HoloLens Actiongram is like Snapchat's augmented reality filters — but on steroids

HoloLens is Microsoft's augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD), designed to show 3D holographic apps and games.

While impressive, the dev kit isn't designed for consumers right now, but that doesn't mean that Microsoft hasn't already begun exploring what consumer-facing apps might look like for devices that support Windows Mixed Reality.

Actiongram is one such app. It allows you to place 3D animations and special effects in the real world, in similar fashion to the augmented face filters found on Snapchat. Actiongram hasn't been updated for a while, but it's still a stellar example of what Microsoft is capable of when it cares enough to build apps that showcase its technology.

Actiongram requires HoloLens' full processing power to use, which means multi-tasking is disabled while its running. It gives you a toolbox to use, connected to the internet, allowing you to download and position various 3D models, characters, and effects into the real world.

A simple air-tap and drag system is used for placing objects, using HoloLens' gaze pointer as a cursor. Tapping on the object causes it to animate, and you can set up Actiongram to take recordings of varying lengths to create fun clips for sharing on social media or uploading to OneDrive.

This is the kind of app that that would do really well on mobile platforms, where sharing is quick and easy. I envisage a version that runs on Windows 10 Mobile, or is even baked directly into Skype, allowing you to position objects and effects to create fun Snapchat-like clips for sharing and socializing with friends.

I doubt Microsoft has any intentions to turn Actiongram into a "thing," but it's a great demonstration of what is theoretically possible with Windows Mixed Reality. This sort of app could help democratize special effects for live action video, which has generally been restricted to high-end movie studios or expensive and inaccessible Windows PC tools. I'm not suggesting that the next Hollywood blockbuster will have special effects via Unity3D on HoloLens, but it could be a fun tool for hobbyists, in education, or creating storyboards for later production.

Begging for sequels via HoloLens FTW. @XboxP3 @InsomniacGames pic.twitter.com/96zgqM8bbq— Jez C (@JezCorden) 4 July 2017

You have to imagine that any prospective "Surface Phone" will have some sort of Mixed Reality features, hopefully we'll see more of these "fun" HoloLens apps find life outside of dev kits in the future.

See HoloLens at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • It better become a "thing"!
  • Would be nice,,, but more likely😂😂😂😂
  • Like the laugh
  • Holy Snapagram Batman!!!
  • There was a demo using the Photos app at Build 2017 where they used a dragon from Actinogram and placed it in a real world scene. A driveway if I recall. The video remix of the soccer game included a 3D fireball and explosion, both assets that can be found in Actiongram - and now on Remix 3D. So i think the idea of baking it into apps is already on the roadmap. Skype integration makes a lot of sense as an evolution of this feature.
  • We might see this app in a Microsoft product in 5-10 years? Snapchat is available and popular now. What is Microsoft doing?
  • True.... What does it matter if nobody knows about it?
  • That is sooo cool!!!!!
  • Bring me my Surface Phone that can tap into this AWESOMENESS!!!! 😀
  • Lol, somewhere in the forums I posted video of a trex running through my yard and playing with my dog over a year ago using Action Gram.
  • Yeah we really need a sunset overdrive sequel
  • Agreed that game was so much fun.
  • Action gram does not have any snapchat feature. You can't share within the app, no face recognition, no stickers to agument a person's face, no photo filters. Don't know how the idea came into your mind. Absolutely dumb comparison.
  • Released in 2028.