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Mixed Reality Momentum: HoloLens 2 expands globally and new Azure service launches

Mixed reality blends our physical and digital worlds to extend computing beyond the screen and fundamentally change how we work, learn, and play. Mixed Reality has evolved from promising technology to a thriving ecosystem of solutions that are having significant and quantifiable impact today.

Mixed reality blends our physical and digital worlds to extend computing beyond the screen and fundamentally change how we work, learn, and play. Mixed Reality has evolved from promising technology to a thriving ecosystem of solutions that are having significant and quantifiable impact today. It plays a significant role in how we manufacture goods, how we learn and retain information, and how we care for ourselves and others. 

Our mixed reality services, which leverage the scalability, reliability, and security of Azure, coupled with our industry leading HoloLens 2 headset, serve as the backbone of our comprehensive mixed reality platform—growing and expanding in several ways at Microsoft Iginte: 

HoloLens 2 is now shipping to new markets

Today, we are announcing that HoloLens 2 is now available in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. HoloLens 2 will be available in South Korea later this fall. 

Proven return on investment (ROI) with Microsoft Azure and HoloLens 2

Thousands of leading companies in industries such as manufacturing, construction, healthcare, retail, and education are using HoloLens 2 and our Azure mixed reality services to save significant touch labor, reduce errors, improve learning and retention, and boost employee and customer satisfaction:

Lockheed Martin/NASA, United States

Leveraging a solution from mixed reality partner Scope AR, Lockheed Martin is is using HoloLens 2 to build the Orion spacecraft, which will take astronauts back to the moon. The benefits that they have realized using mixed reality are significant:

  • Mixed reality solutions with the HoloLens 2 has dramatically reduced touch touch labor—what used to require an eight hour shift can now be completed in just 45 minutes.
  • With the HoloLens, Lockheed Martin has reported zero errors in two plus years with the Orion spacecraft.
  • The Orion spacecraft has over 57,000 fasteners; Lockheed Martin is saving $38 per fastener installation.

Watch the following video to see how Lockheed Martin is using HoloLens 2 to send astronauts to the moon and beyond:


Medivis, United States

Medivis, a Microsoft mixed reality partner is using their SurgicalAR solution for 3D holographic visualizations (versus CT scans) to enable surgeons to perform routine procedures in an inherently superior way. To date, Medivis has:

  • Successfully completed more than 200 surgeries with the HoloLens.
  • Decreased radiation exposure to patients. On average, patients of SurgicalAR averaged 1 CT scan compared to 10 CT scans with traditional 2D surgical solutions.
  • Demonstrated the potential to place catheters with 1mm accuracy (versus the 2.2 cm accuracy that is often typical today).

Watch how Medivis is using HoloLens 2 for holographic guided surgery. 

Case Western Reserve University, United States

Case Western Reserve University is running a remote learning program using their HoloAnatomy solution and HoloLens 2 to help students more effectively learn and retain knowledge:  

  • Students who used HoloAnatomy and HoloLens 2 experienced a 50 percent improvement in grades versus students who used a textbook.
  • Students who used HoloAnatomy and HoloLens 2 retained 120 percent more knowledge over 12 months of learning versus students who did not have access to HoloAnatomy and HoloLens 2.

Watch how Case Western Reserve is teaching remote anatomy classes and improving learning outcomes.   

Azure Mixed Reality Services expands to add Azure Objects Anchors

Our Azure mixed reality services are a core pillar of our mixed reality platform. These mixed reality services overcome many of the technical challenges in building mixed reality applications and simplify cross platform mixed reality development. Today, we are announcing a preview of our latest mixed reality service, Azure Object Anchors:

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In many of today’s mixed reality scenarios, there is a need to place physical markers such as QR codes to identify an object and manually align 3D and holographic content to that object. Azure Object Anchors enables mixed reality developers to build applications that automatically align 3D content to real-word objects—saving significant touch labor, reducing alignment errors, and improving user experience.

Toyota Motor Corporation is an early preview customer using Azure Object Anchors to build a task guidance application for their technicians: 

“Azure Object Anchors enables our technicians to service vehicles more quickly and accurately thanks to markerless and dynamic 3D model alignment. It has removed our need for QR codes and eliminated the risk of error from manual model alignment, thus making our maintenance procedures more efficient.”—Koichi Kayano, Program Manager Technical Service Division at Toyota

To learn more about Azure Object Anchors, see our technical blog post or sign up if you are interested in participating in the private preview.  

Microsoft Azure Kinect is going commercial, scales 3D time-of-flight technology through partners

Azure Kinect DK is our cutting-edge spatial computing developer kit that contains sophisticated computer vision and speech models, advanced AI sensors, and a range of powerful SDKs that can be connected to Azure cognitive services. Today, we are announcing the collaborations with two leading companies—Analog Devices and SICK AG—who will build devices enabled with the 3D Time of Flight depth technology that is currently only available via Azure Kinect:

  • Analog Devices will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology in the design, manufacture and sale of depth sensor silicon alongside a commercial depth camera module aimed at consumer electronics, automotive cabins and industrial logistic use-cases. For more information, visit Analog’s website.
  • SICK AG, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of intelligent sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications, will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology to bring state-of-the-art technologies to SICK’s 3D Time of Flight Visionary-T camera product line, and make it even smarter. For more information, contact your local SICK subsidiary.

We are excited about the momentum we are seeing in mixed reality and the strong ROI that our customers are achieving with HoloLens 2 and our Azure mixed reality services. Today’s announcements will help to scale the breadth and impact of our mixed reality platform, which continues to increase the productivity of the firstline work force and transform how we live, work and play.