Microsoft Looks To Academia To Usher In Next Wave Of Holographic Computing With Research Proposal Program

Microsoft announced an academic research program Monday aiming to gather proposals for HoloLens technologies that further “the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society.”

Microsoft will be awarding $100,000 and two HoloLens development kits to the best five research proposals from academic institutions.

“This emerging technology teems with opportunity, so we’ve issued this RFP [request for proposals] to inspire the academic community to investigate the potential roles and applications for holographic computing in society,” Jeannette Wing, the Corporate Vice President or Microsoft Research said in a blog post. “Additionally, we want to stimulate and advance academic research in mixed reality and encourage exploration of new possibilities in holographic computing.”

Microsoft specified the following areas for researchers to explore holographic computing solutions for (but specified that this list was by no means exhaustive):

  • Data visualization
    Example: Using mixed reality to make large data sets easier to navigate and understand
  • Evolution of pedagogy in STEM, medical, and design education
    Example: Using existing 3D assets or new 3D assets for high-value training (e.g., interactive 3D models for medical training)
  • Future of communication and distributed collaboration
    Examples: Remote training and support, first-responder emergency management, and virtual conferences
  • Interactive art and experimental media
    Examples: Narrative storytelling, new forms of artistic expression, interactive journalism
  • Psychology-related topics
    Examples: Human perception and human-computer interaction
  • Solving difficult problems and contributing new insights that are specific to the applicant’s field 
This request for proposals program represents a pretty major opportunity for Microsoft to be on the forefront of academic usage of VR technologies. Past demonstrations of HoloLens tech has shown users exploring Minecraft worlds, receiving Skype calls and interacting with three-dimensional objects. Though we’ve already seen some limitations with the HoloLens hardware, the seemingly endless potential for research applications has yet to really be fully explored.
Proposal submissions from academic researchers are due by September 5, more information is available on Microsoft’s site.