Holonet

The digital era led to a huge shift towards online communication, yet the nuances of face-to-face interactions have remained elusive in the virtual realm. Enter Holonet: an innovative mixed reality application designed to bridge this gap, enabling users to connect and interact as if sharing the same physical space, no matter their geographical location.

The Challenge

Initial feedback from users familiar with XR communication technologies highlighted a mix of appreciation and reservation. They valued the spatial dynamics offered by XR—where participants could be positioned in a surrounding space rather than on a flat screen. However, the use of avatars as stand-ins for real persons diluted the sense of immersion, making interactions feel less genuine. Addressing the craving for authenticity, while circumventing the need for specialized hardware, became our pivotal challenge.

 

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Innovating a Solution

Our solution was groundbreaking: enabling users to project themselves as real-time holograms using just a standard camera. By developing a sophisticated neural network capable of distinguishing a person from their background and converting that image into a hologram, we achieved a significant leap in immersion. Early tests validated our direction, with users reporting a notably enhanced sense of presence compared to avatar-based interactions.

Throughout the development process, we also distilled key insights from the fluctuating interest in the metaverse, which informed our strategy:

 

 

  • A demand for accessing virtual spaces beyond XR glasses, including desktops.
  • A preference for meaningful interaction within these spaces, beyond simple exploration or communication.
  • An expectation for high-quality graphics within these experiences.

The Evolution and launch of Holonet

In response, Holonet evolved into a comprehensive network of virtual interactive spaces, accessible through a variety of platforms including VR and MR glasses, desktop, and web applications. Unique among its peers, Holonet offers users the choice between holographic self-representation or avatars, catering to individual preferences for virtual presence.

The inaugural release of Holonet focuses on fostering collaboration. It supports VR and MR headsets, desktops, and web platforms, ensuring a seamless and optimized experience across devices. The platform introduces six virtual spaces designed for collaborative efforts, from intimate meeting rooms to expansive auditoriums.

 

Holonet embraces inclusivity, allowing both registered users and guests to engage with its virtual environments. Participants can join public spaces or create private sessions for exclusive interactions. The platform enhances productivity and engagement through:

  • The ability to import and manipulate various files and objects, optimized across different devices.
  • Screen sharing for presentations within virtual spaces.
  • Customizable hologram and avatar appearances, with simple avatar creation from photographs.
  • Integration between VR/MR headsets and desktop environments for a fluid transition between mediums.

Beyond collaboration, Holonet introduces interactive elements such as mini-games, with careful attention to ensuring a consistent and enjoyable experience regardless of the platform.

Technical Milestones and Optimization

A pivotal focus of our development journey was optimization. Initially facing a build size exceeding 5GB, our team embarked on a rigorous process to enhance efficiency, successfully reducing the initial load to just 50MB without compromising on quality. Our aim is to further decrease this to below 30MB. Performance optimization was equally critical, ensuring Holonet runs smoothly on standalone headsets like the Quest 2 without sacrificing graphical fidelity.

What's next for Holonet?

Holonet represents a significant stride towards replicating the depth of real-world interactions within a digital framework. Through innovative technology and a user-centric approach, we’ve crafted a platform that not only enhances virtual communication but also sets a new standard for immersive experiences. As we continue to refine and expand Holonet, our commitment to pushing the boundaries of graphics and user experience remains unwavering.

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