This past week at Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference Microsoft gave developers a first look at HoloLens through a series of invitation-only sessions. The majority of these sessions were shorter where a developer could wear the HoloLens and experiences a pre-built HoloLens application, but a few sessions were longer where a developer was taught how to build their own HoloLens applications.  This second type of session is what Microsoft called ‘Holographic Academy’. 

When I got my invitation to attend the Holographic Academy, I had no idea how lucky I was, it turns out that a very small percentage of conference actually got such in-depth access to what is likely to be a transformative technology when it is released.  The unfortunate part of attending the Holographic Academy was that I had to sign a somewhat intimidating NDA so I won’t be able to go into all the details, but I was really surprised at how easy it was to build applications for HoloLens.   For the most part our HoloLens applications were Unity3D application, which had a special camera pre-fab that allowed Unity3D to integrated directly with HoloLens sensors.   Development and deployment was very smooth and straight forward and only after a few hours of iterating on a basic project the students of HoloLens Academy were able to build sophisticated augmented reality experiences.

While Microsoft was undoubtedly trying to ensure that developers received the message that building apps for the HoloLens is easy and approachable, I’m sure that once the hardware is released lower-level DirectX APIs will be published allowing for a full spectrum of applications that vary in complexity and scope