The HoloLens and Holographic Academy Experience

I consider myself extremely lucky, part of the future, special and being in the right place at the right time.

This is the HoloLens website.

As part of attending the Microsoft Build conference I got a chance to attend the Holographic Academy. I was one of the first few hundred developers to try developing an app for HoloLens. It was four and a half quality hours in a hotel hall with a big Microsoft team and magic all around. No cameras or recording devices allowed- so I don’t have photos to share. It’s still a lot of secrecy and unanswered questions but what a spectacular unveiling of the technology of the future!

Personal Setting
Somebody came with an optician tool to measure something about my eyes. I don’t understand it all but I believe it measures the space between the pupils. I got 60 as a number and I think it was the smallest number from the people around me- go figure.

The HoloLens customizations and deployments can be done wirelessly but in our with unreliable network, we had to connect the HoloLens to the computer through an USB cable. As a first step, I needed to access the device through the browser with an IP address & port number. You access a website where you plug in the number to customize your HaloLens.

The Development Tools
The tools you need are Unity for the 3D work (https://unity3d.com/) and Visual Studio 2015 for the compilation of the code and deployment.

I opened an existent application, built it in Unity and compiled/deployed it from Visual Studio. When compiling it, I had to look at the spot where I expected to see my hologram. Once the deployment finished, I disconnected the cable and I was free to move around with my hologram – a small race toy car. With a small tab in the air, I was able to move it around.

Space Recognition
HoloLens have space recognition- you see the space around so my car would fall from the edge of the coffee table and get stuck on impact with my backpack.

Building Apps
I started with a new project in Unity. Microsoft provided us with assets to use for the app. There are 3 main components/sensors you code for – gaze, tap and voice commands! We would add C# script for gaze, tab and voice recognition and attach them to objects.

Gaze
The little ring cursor will point at the object when your eyes/gaze reach the object.

Tap
The little tap with the index finger in the air will trigger a command.


Voice Recognition

I was able to implement in the code my personal commands. I was impressed how good the voice recognition was. It was easy to implement my commands for reset and drop the object. I think HoloLens actually interpret my accent better than the people around me.

The App
With the provided assets and code, my app had a small board with objects in it. There were two balls in the air that I was able to drop with a tap or a voice command. When the first ball dropped, an exposure would happen and the underground world would get exposed. I would place my gaze on the second ball and tap/give a command and the ball will drop in the underworld and I would be able to follow with my eyes the ball.

Interaction
I would be able to give my HoloLens to somebody else and they would experience my world. We were not able to interact with each other in one augmented reality. This functionality will be there in the future.

The Summary
When I saw the press release video from Microsoft in January, when I saw the demo at the keynote of //Build, my reaction was- no idea how this can be real. The experience with my hands on the HoloLens and the SDK surpassed my expectations by far! The augmented reality is very real, the HoloLens are comfortable and writing an app for HoloLens was not as hard as it sounds. I probably cannot explain the extent of my excitement and fascination. I have dreams now how to use the HoloLens, how to build apps for it. And after dreams and vision, now it’s the time to roll my sleeves and learn Unity…

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Game Jam for Kids

September 14, 2013

Two outstanding Microsoft evangelists Daniel Egan and Bret Stateham.
Sponsorship from Microsoft.
45 middle school children, 10 volunteers and 2 teachers.
Teaching kids how to create art in InkSpace, how to create their own sounds in Audacity and putting it all together into a mobile game in GameMaker.

I’m proud to say I’m the organizer and it was a very successful event.

Game Jam for Kids
Daniel Egan helping participants get ready with the initial installation of the software.
Game Jam for Kids
Ina Samir made an inspirational speech about programming and what’s to love about it.
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham is opening the event and inspiring every child in the room.
Game Jam for Kids
One of the parent volunteers Udayan Sharma and his daugher Mahika.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Jason and Daniel Egan helping the participants.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
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Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
JB is part of the Universal Music Group development team that volunteered at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Young Elizabeth helped welcome the participants with goody bags.
Yesenia made a big part of this event possible. Thank you!
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
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Game Jam for Kids
The youngest participant at the event impressed us with his focus and determination.
Game Jam for Kids
Pizza break.
Game Jam for Kids
Playing with the Xbox Kinect in the break.
Game Jam for Kids
Jason volunteered his time at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Playing with the I-racer controlling the car with the Windows Phone.
Game Jam for Kids
I should’ve made a better photo of Laszlo, one of the wonderful volunteers from Universal Music Group who helped dozens of munchkins keep up with their development projects.
Game Jam for Kids
Carol did an amazing job of organizing the Technology Academy from Walter Reed to come to the event.
Game Jam for Kids
One of the best photobombs ever. I was posing and looking beautiful…
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham is helping some the participants.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
The raffle drawing.
Game Jam for Kids
Giving the certificates to every child participant.
Game Jam for Kids
Game Jam for Kids
A sweet gesture for all the volunteers at the event.
Game Jam for Kids
Having fun is so important!
Game Jam for Kids
Bret Stateham set up a whole room for sound creation and editing.
Game Jam for Kids
One happy child that day walked away with an Xbox.
Game Jam for Kids
After a great event it’s time to celebrate!
Game Jam for Kids

Check out the Walter Reed Technology Academy website and thank you message.

Thank you, Microsoft, Daniel Egan, Bret Stateham and all the wonderful volunteers that made this event possible! And yes, more to come.

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Mobile Development Languages & Tools

iOS Development

iOS
If you like to create apps for iOS (iPad, iPhone) you can use the Xcode platform. The programming language of iOS(and Mac OS) is Objective-C. You can develop in C or C++ as well. Cocoa is the application programming interface (API).
You have one more excellent option – you can program apps for iOS in HTML5.
MonoTouch will allow you to use any .NET language and develop for iOS.

Android

Android
The officially supported integrated development environment (IDE) is Eclipse.
Additionally, developers may use any text editor to edit Java and XML files, then use command line tools (Java Development Kit and Apache Ant are required) to create, build and debug Android applications.
You can develop Android apps using HTML5.

Windows 8

Windows
The main tool you will use is Visual Studio (and Expression Blend). You can develop in HTML5 or XAML & C# or XAML & VB or XAML & C++.

Windows Phone

The main tool you will use is Visual Studio (and Expression Blend). You can develop in XAML & C# or XAML & VB or XAML & C++.

Blackberry

Blackberry
BlackBerry development is done in Java and you can use the Eclipse envoironment.

Corss-Platform Development Tools

Appcelerator Titanium allows you to develop apps in HTML5 for iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry.
Icenium allows you to develop apps in HTML5 for iOS and Android.

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Icenium – Integrated Cloud Envoironment (ICE)

I’m learning some cool stuff, Kids! I want to share this with you.

Icenium is a new and exciting development environment provided by Telerik. It helps you build applications for Android, iOS (iPad, iPhone) using only HTML5 (no Java, no Objective-C). You don’t need to install different development environments and multiple SDKs. It’s part of the new generation of mobile development platforms that uses the Cloud. It’s free till May 2013!

What is Icenium Graphite?
It’s a Windows based tool that will allow you to create, debug and deploy your applications for Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices.
Icenium Graphite

What is Icenium Mist?
Icenium Mist is a browser-based development environment that enables web and mobile web developers to work on your mobile application projects from anywhere using only a web browser. It is the lightweight version of Icenium Graphite.
Icenium Mist

Is there a Simulator?
Yes. The Icenium Device Simulator enables you to experience how your application will look and feel in real-time across multiple device platforms and form factors, including smartphones and tablets. The device simulator is available in both Icenium Graphite and Icenium Mist.

What is Icenium Ion?
Icenium Ion is a free testing utility for web and mobile web developers who are using Icenium Mist. Ion enables developers to load applications you are developing into the Ion shell for testing and validation on any iOS device. Icenium Ion is available through the Apple AppStore.

Where is my code going to live?
You can choose between the Icenium Version Control repository—a Git repository on your cloud-based file system that is allocated when you create a new project, or you can choose to use an external URL-based Git repositories, such as GitHub or BitBucket.

What is Kendu UI Mobile?
The development in Icenium is done with Kendo UI Mobile. Kendo UI Mobile is a collection of HTML5 and JavaScript widgets designed to help developers build native app experiences using web standards. Kendo UI Mobile is unique in its ability to automatically adapt to different mobile platforms, precisely matching the native UX of platforms like iOS and Android.

What is Apache Cordova?
Apache Cordova is formerly known as PhoneGap. It is a mobile development framework. It enables software programmers to build applications for mobile devices using JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3, instead of device-specific languages such as Objective-C. With Cordova you can easily leverage device API’s, including those for camera, accelerometer, geolocation, and more using standard web languages (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript). You don’t need to install Apache Cordova when you use Icenium- it’s managed for you on the Cloud.

Additional Resources:

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