Last week Microsoft launched the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Star Trek’s Holodeck
. The new Microsoft Mesh system
relies on a handful of existing and updated Microsoft technologies, including HoloLens 2 mixed reality headsets, Azure, object anchors, and remote rendering.
Like the Holodeck, Microsoft Mesh seeks to bring people together in interactive, immersive virtual environments. The demos we saw were eye-popping, but they also relied on a camera system that presented the view of all participants in the virtual world. I’m not certain the final system will feel the same.
Unlike Star Trek Holodeck, Microsoft Mesh still requires headsets (it also works with Windows VR headsets, Oculus headsets, PCs, Macs, and smartphones), which may cut down on the real-world feel.
Microsoft also made clear its consumer intentions, demonstrating Niantic’s proof of concept Pokémon GO Microsoft Mesh integration.
Overall, the ability to interact with remote co-workers and friends as if they’re there and engage with AR and 3D objects from any angle is impressive – especially if it works as advertised.
I sense a cool front
My home features two Nest Thermostats: One on the main floor and one upstairs. They do a decent job of intelligently managing our home HVAC. These smart devices measure the temperature, watch for human activity to ensure they’re heating or cooling when we’re home, and give us monthly reports on our energy consumption.
There are limits, though, to what these smart thermostats can do. In my house, the upstairs Nest is in the hallway. At night, when we all go to bed and close our doors, we also cut off access to the outer-wall-based radiators. As a result, the rooms get hotter and hotter as the thermostat reads radiator-free hallways that just don’t seem to warm up.
Waking up drenched in sweat was not uncommon. The solution, I realized, might be simple. I needed a way of telling Nest the temperature inside my bedroom without opening my door. I assumed a remote sensor might do the trick and was pleased to find that Google sells a $39, battery-powered Temperature Sensor
We have other rooms in the house that are too far from my Nests for it to properly assess overall temperature but found that the sensor only works with Nest Smart Thermostat Version 3 and above. My first Nest is V2.
I used the app to set up the sensor and connect it to the upstairs Nest. Then I set a schedule that essentially said, the Nest would use the remote device as its main overnight temp sensor.
It worked perfectly. Now my room and the hallway are essentially the exact same, comfortable sleeping temp.
I love it when smart technology works this well.
As you might know, I have an affinity for Dr. Seuss
. His books were among my very first reads, including And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
(a personal favorite). What I didn’t know was how some of these ebooks, including that one, featured stereotypes and sometimes blatantly racist imagery and ideas. As a child, I might be forgiven for missing them. As an adult, I just think I took the texts and images at face value. The decision by Seuss’s own estate to stop publishing a half-dozen questionable Seuss tomes
came as a shock to me and many others, but I understand it. We’re long past the time where we can blithely perpetuate stereotypes, and saying, “it was a different time,” does not cut it. Some might think that something is being taken from future children, but I disagree, the future is full of more inclusive children’s tales, including some that were written by Seuss himself.
Happy International Women’s Day! Be sure to acknowledge the powerful women in your life.
See you soon