Microsoft has partnered with Autodesk to make its HoloLens device more useful in the way that we design products. The Redmond, Washington-based company has built support for Autodesk’s Fusion 360 into its augmented reality headset to provide designers an innovative way to build 2D and 3D objects.
“When we first saw HoloLens, we immediately sensed the possibilities for 3D engineering and industrial design,” wrote Garin Gardiner, an Autodesk Fusion 360 business developer manager. “And after spending a bit of time with HoloLens, I realized how limiting it is to view 3D objects on a relatively small, flat screen rather than being able to use my entire real-world workspace for 3D design projects.”
The added support for Fusion 360 comes as the two companies build on their existing partnership, which was formed in May 2015 during Microsoft’s Build conference. The first project they worked on together, called FreeForm, provided a way to examine what an engineer or a designer could do with 3D holographic technology. Now enough work has been done that Autodesk is bringing Fusion 360 directly to the HoloLens augmented reality device.
By allowing designers and engineers to build a product in 3D and view it virtually, the expectation is, the system will reduce the time needed to build physical prototypes and may streamline the development process.
But while the possibilities of using HoloLens to build out your next hardware device or product is certainly appealing, don’t get too excited. HoloLens isn’t available for public use yet, and the integration with Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is still in development. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from showing off the potential of what this partnership can do:
Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens system in January as a way to show what 3D really should look like and to push forward the development of holographic technology. But the company isn’t focused on just product designers, engineers, and industrial designers — it’s also started working with folks at NASA, Case Western Reserve University, and others on education and business applications.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, some examples of the potential of HoloLens were posted onto Facebook: