Mixed Reality @ Microsoft Insider Dev Tour

Microsoft Insider Dev Tour

On June 20th, the Microsoft Insider Dev Tour will come to Vienna, Austria. It’s a world-wide event series for developers, organized by Microsoft together with Microsoft Developer MVPs.

You’ll learn about the latest trends for developers – including artificial intelligence, progressive web apps and more. Of course, Mixed Reality is also on the agenda!

As a Microsoft MVP for Windows Development, I’ll take over the Mixed Reality session. You’ll see live demos of getting started with both VR headsets, as well as the Microsoft HoloLens. 150 attendees have signed up – so it’ll certainly be a great event!

In addition, Microsoft has released amazing hands-on labs for everyone to follow up and dive deeper into the content presented at the sessions. The Mixed Reality Lab includes controllers, spatial sound and spatial mapping. It’s a great way to get started with some of the most exciting features of MR. Check it out!

 

How to Combine the Mixed Reality Toolkit, Unity 2017 and Visual Studio 2017

MRI scan visualized through HoloLens and Mixed Reality

Update 20. December 2017: A new release of the Mixed Reality toolkit is now out as an official release. It’s recommended to use this, along with Unity 2017.2.1f1.

Update 13. November 2017: The latest source code of the Mixed Reality toolkit now combines both HoloLens and Mixed Reality headsets into a single toolkit that works with one Unity version: 2017.2.0p1 MRTP 4. It’s a special fork of Unity that is optimized for the “Mixed Reality Toolkit Preview”. A later version of Unity will hopefully combine all environments into a single release again. Read more about the environment setup at the GitHub pull request.

Update 19. October 2017: In the meantime, Unity 2017.2 final has been released, and the dev branch of the Mixerd Reality toolkit has been merged back to the master. You should now be fine using the following versions for HoloLens development: Unity 2017.2.0f3+, Mixed Reality Toolkit (master branch), Visual Studio 2017.+4, Windows 10.0.15063.0 SDK.

Original Article: Lately, the tools required for HoloLens / Mixed Reality development have been undergoing profound changes. All three tools involved in building HoloLens apps are being restructured:

  • Unity 2017 unifies Virtual / Augmented Reality APIs, making them flexible enough to target all platforms (e.g., phones with ARKit / ARCore, VR, AR). This also involves new and renamed APIs.
  • HoloToolkit has been renamed to Mixed Reality Toolkit, as Microsoft expands the scope to include the new VR headsets with inside-out tracking going on sale this fall.
  • Visual Studio 2017.3 also introduced some major changes under the hood. This is combined with the C# engine used in Unity slowly being migrated from the old Mono runtime to more recent versions of C#.

With the latest Unity 2017.2.0b11 release, everything should now be coming together. In this blog post, I’m describing how to use the latest versions of the tools for creating and deploying a HoloLens app. Continue reading “How to Combine the Mixed Reality Toolkit, Unity 2017 and Visual Studio 2017”

Windows Developer Day, Oct 10th, Vienna: Mixed Reality, Xamarin & more!

Mobile Developer After-Work

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings an impressive array of new features for developers. At the Windows Developer Day, the Microsoft engineering teams will introduce the latest news for developers.

One of the most exciting is Windows Mixed Reality as a feature of the base operating system, bringing Virtual Reality to the masses with reasonably priced VR headsets. Additional topics include Xamarin, .NET Standard 2.0 and the XBox Live Creators Program.

MVPs (Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals) around the globe organize viewing parties. Through the Austrian mobility.builders mobile developer community and together with fellow MVP Helmut Krämer, I have the honor of hosting the local streaming party in Vienna. Continue reading “Windows Developer Day, Oct 10th, Vienna: Mixed Reality, Xamarin & more!”

Cross-Platform Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library Evolves

Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library

Thanks to the help of the new collaborator Chris Tacke, the Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library has evolved to its next level. Based on a modularized architecture, the library is now based on .NET Standard 1.3. Extensions provide the glue to the Bluetooth APIs of various platforms.

Currently, Windows 10 (UWP) and Android (Xamarin) are supported. The core library also works fine on iOS, Mac and Linux. Continue reading “Cross-Platform Universal Bluetooth Beacon Library Evolves”

Porting the NFC / NDEF Library to .NET Standard

NdefDemo App of the NFC Library, now based on .NET Standard

With around 20,000 downloads, the “NFC / NDEF Library for Proximity APIs” is the most popular NFC library for C#. The library has initially been released in 2012 and has since been extended to cover many standardized as well as common NDEF use cases – also thanks to the support of the netidee open innovation platform.

Lately, the underlying platforms have evolved, and now the library has adapted. The main NFC library has now been ported to .NET Standard, which is a common baseline that makes the library compatible to even more different platforms. The new version 4.1.0 is now available under the open source LGPL license on GitHub, as well as on NuGet.

In addition to running on Windows, the library now fully supports all platforms that support .NET Core (like Linux and Mac), as well as Xamarin for Android and iOS. This makes it significantly easier to provide NFC functionality across different platforms – especially now that the iPhone also finally supports the open NDEF standard within NFC through the Apple Core NFC framework. Continue reading “Porting the NFC / NDEF Library to .NET Standard”

.NET Standard Libraries and NuGet Package Wizard

Generating NuGet Packages from Visual Studio 2017

A few days ago, Microsoft has released  .NET Standard 2.0, which is the new dreams-come-true platform for libraries. Additionally, Portable Class Libraries (PCL) have since also been deprecated. Therefore, it’s about time to port my existing libraries.

In addition, also Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 with full support for .NET Standard 2.0 was released, as well as the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Preview SDK. So, let’s get started!

.NET Standard vs. UWP

However, it turns out that UWP doesn’t yet support .NET Standard 2.0. For the UWP platform, the latest supported .NET Standard version is still 1.4, which is considerably less powerful.

Attempting to reference a .NET Standard 2.0 library from an UWP app leads to errors, including the following that gives it away:

Upgrading the UWP project to the latest SDK Preview for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 16257 doesn’t change anything; both the SDK and the new Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3 can not yet use .NET Standard 2.0 in conjunction with UWP. According to Microsoft, that will be coming soon with the next UWP version. Continue reading “.NET Standard Libraries and NuGet Package Wizard”

How to Read the Battery Level of Bluetooth LE Devices

Microsoft Surface Dial

At the Microsoft Build Tour in Vienna, I had the opportunity to present an enhanced version of the Bluetooth Beacon talk. With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft released a massive update to the Bluetooth LE capabilities of the OS. This finally allows developers to use the full potential of modern Bluetooth scenarios, including sensors, wearables and beacons.

At Build 2017, Microsoft released three new sessions explaining the capabilities of the new APIs:

  1. Intro to Bluetooth LE Explorer
  2. Unpaired Bluetooth LE Device Connectivity
  3. Bluetooth GATT Server

Even though the sessions reference example code and blog posts that should have been released together with the session recordings, still none of that is available so far. That gave me the opportunity to explore the new APIs based on the short documentation overview page and the videos. Continue reading “How to Read the Battery Level of Bluetooth LE Devices”

Video: Everything You Need To Know About Bluetooth 5 & Beacons

Bluetooth Beacon Session by Andreas Jakl

With the first Bluetooth 5 devices just released (first and foremost the Samsung Galaxy S8), Bluetooth Beacons like Apple iBeacon and Eddystone by Google gain a lot of potential. Increased range means future beacons will cover a much larger area, without increased power consumption. With the payload increase of beacon advertisement frames from 31 bytes to 255 bytes, the amount of information transmitted by beacons can substantially increase.

In my session about Bluetooth Beacons at the Mobile Developer After-Work #14: Creating Immersive Environments, I provided a short update about the latest news. Unfortunately, recording of the live session at the event failed. Therefore, I’ve re-recorded it – you will miss the live experience, but I did have a little more time for more detailed explanations of some important facts, so it’s well worth watching again even if you have been at the #mdaw14 Event!

The 45 min recording is now available on YouTube.

Continue reading “Video: Everything You Need To Know About Bluetooth 5 & Beacons”