HoloLens Actiongram is like Snapchat's augmented reality filters — but on steroids
Developer kits have been out in the wild for over a year now, and HoloLens comes baked with a bunch of cool apps.
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.
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.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at 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!