Microsoft Garage is well-known as the skunkworks-like division of the company. It is a place where employees can work on extra-curricular activities that many not become full Microsoft products. Now, Microsoft Garage locations around the world are providing “Reality Rooms” to employees to further inspire creativity.
Currently, Garage locations around the world already have “makerspaces”. These are places where interns and Microsoft employees can get access to tools such as hardware and 3D printers. Microsoft has now added new Reality Rooms to these locations to boost the available resources.
Reality Rooms, as the name suggests, give employees access to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality solutions and hardware. The company clearly hopes this access will spur the creation of apps and services focused on mixed and virtual reality.
Microsoft Garage locations allows employees and interns to use the rooms for hands on with reality products. Additionally, the facilities can also be used for coding XR projects. The locations will include a green screen and motion capture tools.
In its announcement, Microsoft says the Reality Rooms needed to be inspiring and promote an active workspace:
“Garage Envisioneer Mike Pell designed a futuristic space that feels very much like a spaceship, but serves its dual purposes well. Many VR headsets adorn the walls and shelving, along with 360 VR cameras, HoloLens, and AR glasses. Sensors and surround sound speakers are integrated into the ceiling, while custom lighting adds a key to the aesthetic and feel of the room. Workdesks are strategically placed to keep the room's center open as a “play space” where multiple people can interact at the same time.”
Microsoft Garage workers outside the Reality Rooms will be able to see people using HoloLens from outside. That's because there are wall-sized screens broadcasting HoloLens use in Spectator View from within the rooms.
The next step is for the Reality Rooms to inspire creation. With that in mind, we expect to see some interesting XR projects leave Microsoft Garage in the future.