Although it may not have the field of view that many were originally hoping for, Microsoft’s HoloLens is still no less of an amazing tool on the horizon for many involved in hardware development. Earlier this year, SolidSmack reported on ten reasons why the HoloLens could change product design and the way that consumers interact with products in a mixed reality world. So far, many of those predictions have remained true.

Soon after the January announcement of the HoloLens, Autodesk teamed up with the Silicon Forest tech giant on a joint project by the name of ‘FreeForm’. The proof of concept project, which was modeled after the existing modeling capabilities of Fusion 360, aimed to explore what was possible for today’s designers and engineers through the HoloLens.

“Working in mixed reality is far more than just putting a holographic 3D model in front of you,” explains Fusion 360’s Garin Gardiner. “It changes every aspect of how you work with your data, environment, peers, and customers.”

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To better understand the full potential of the HoloLens in a designer or engineer’s workflow, the Fusion 360 team spent the better part of 2015 building dozens of prototypes and testing the many scenarios of how a hardware development workflow could be made better with a mixed reality environment.

6a017c3334c51a970b01b8d17cb372970cEarly user experience scenario sketches from Autodesk

“We explored ways to make work areas have infinite space by using walls and open areas overlaid with holographic objects,” adds Gardiner. “We explored how users could collaborate together by looking at the same holographic model and being able to walk around it and discuss various aspects of the design as if it were really sitting on their table. We explored the possibilities of creating and editing directly from a holographic model, as well as pitching a final design to an executive team or a customer.”

As for when the rest of us might get a taste of what the two have been working on, that’s still up in the air – although it’s slated to be sometime in 2016. For those who can’t wait to get their hands on the device, Microsoft is offering a Developer’s Edition of the kit that’ll set you back a clean $3,000 upon application approval.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.