Understanding Mixed Reality
How will HoloLens change the workplace?
Products help define our environments (for example, an oven and refrigerator help define a kitchen; a bed and desk might define a bedroom), so we sought to discover what products will define future workspaces.
HoloLens and other mixed reality devices may soon replace the ordinary computer. We were curious how the workplace will change when a "desktop computer" no longer requires a desk!
We interviewed four offices to understand how mixed reality might impact their workflow.
People aren't glued to their computers, so they likely won't be glued HoloLens. We realized that if HoloLens were to replace desktop computers, the workplace would be an ideal place to seek problems that an enchanted object could solve.
Likewise, our research revealed that time management is a problem that workplaces face today and will continue to face in the future. Our purpose became clear: design an enchanted object that facilitates time management.
Timepiece was designed with comfortable curves that fit easily into the hand. It's circular form communicates the cyclic nature of time. The negative space creates a void that holograms, in mixed reality, complete.
Timepiece's form and story developed synchronically. This is an early sketch exploring how Timepiece might fit into an average workday by helping with meetings, navigation, and other time-related tasks.
Phase I: Physical Design
An LED ring was programmed to display three modes: past, present, and future. The manufacturability of both parts of the concept was also deeply considered, including the placement of PCBs, induction charging coils, button components, and an LED ring for displaying the modes.
Maintaining the integrity of the product was important throughout the design process.
Phase II: Holographic UX
Designing in Mixed Reality
HoloLens was used throughout the design process to help visualize the physical and holographic elements of the final product.
Switch modes with one button
Users can rotate between Timepiece's three display modes using the devices single button.
The user's time spent through the day.
A typical watch--the current time.
A countdown to the user's next upcoming event.
Holographic access to more information
Microsoft has several apps that already deal with time management. Timepiece can help these applications seamlessly transition into the mixed reality market.
Below see a 2D breakdown of Timepiece's 3D user experience.
Designing an Enchanted Object
This product was designed to combat time management problems that can be foreseen in the workspaces of the future. It makes use of the HoloLens as a practical, desk-top computer alternative, and considers potential changes in users’ attitudes when developing the timepiece and base. One of the most important considerations was to account for the visual and spatial interactions of HoloLens, which allows users to interpret information. That power was harnessed in order to facilitate a spatial interpretation of time.
Pioneering Design for Mixed Reality
Designing for mixed reality stretched my imagination and brought me into a realm of design that I never knew existed! I am so grateful to have been among the pioneer industrial designers to tackle this strange new world of mixed reality, enchanted objects, and spatial user interface.
Thank you to everyone who made this project possible.