Ford are using Microsoft's Hololens for car design

Ford & Wired

Wired Magazine recently published a piece about Ford, titled, “Ford’s using Augmented Reality to design better cars“.

It’s a pretty interesting article and worth your time to read.

The gist of it is, “Outfitted with the holographic goggles (Microsoft’s Hololens), these Detroit denizens can stand in front of clay models of cars and see 3-D vehicle elements digitally overlaid onto them, so they can quickly evaluate and alter new car designs.”

That makes a lot of sense. Large clay models are hard to produce and even harder to iterate with. Melding the digital and physical world makes a lot of sense.

So what’s the problem?

Some Confusion?

Wired has been a leading-ish light in the world of tech journalism for a long time. They generally get things reasonably right. However, I have to take issue with their description of what Ford are doing here.

If you’ve been following along, you know that we like the term Extended Reality, or XR, because it’s pretty clear what it encompasses. The individual definitions for Augmented, Mixed and Virtual reality can get very blurry at the edges.

And this is the trap Wired have fallen into. Virtual face-first, so to speak.

If you are adding digital elements to a view of the real world, you can certainly claim to be using Augmented RealityHowever, the second your digital imagery really starts to understand the real world objects in the scene, you are clearly in the realm of Mixed Reality. Furthermore, Microsoft has always insisted that the Hololens is a Mixed Reality device, so this seems like an odd oversight on the part of Wired.

The only reason we call this out is because the language used in the world of Extended Reality is already confusing. Leading publications like Wired should really be more pro-active in helping to solve that problem.

But seriously, go read the article. You’ll probably find it quite interesting.