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Vote for Microsoft's trio of HoloLens app finalists

The crowdsourced augmented reality experiences include a living-room sized aquarium and planetarium.

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After some 5,000 entries, Microsoft has narrowed down the field by picking the finalists for its HoloLens app pitch-off. Voting opens at noon Pacific today and your choices include the following: "Airquarium," "Grab the Idol" and "Galaxy Explorer." The winner will be open-sourced and Redmond says it doesn't care if people make their own versions once it's done. Each is "inspired by" an amalgam of your ideas from the myriad submissions. So, even if your exact app wasn't picked, chances are it might've influenced the final three.

For example, "Grab the Idol" counts at least four "the floor is lava" ideas as points of reference in its augmented reality version of what sounds like Legends of the Hidden Temple or an augmented reality version of Prince of Persia. You're dodging poison darts and navigating around randomly generated perils and puzzles on your path to, well, grabbing the idol. Microsoft says that each room in your house would be a different level, and that things like spinning blades and timed flamethrowers are based on the surfaces in your room -- your furniture is working against you in a much different way than it does with Kinect here.

If that sounds a little too intense, then maybe "Galaxy Explore" is more your speed. Basically, it's putting a planetarium in your living room. Microsoft describes it as such:

"Users can navigate the galaxy at their own pace using natural gestures and voice commands. Tap on anything to get detailed facts and stats. Draw a path through the galaxy and see an animated view of how long it would take to make the trip by car, by rocket, by fictional starship, or as a light beam."

And upon landing, your coffee table or floor will take on the appearance of the celestial body you're exploring. So long as they're "significant parts" of the Milky Way, that is.

Then we have perhaps the most relaxing of all, "Airquarium." This one transforms your room into the ocean replete with corals on your floor, walls or ceiling and marine creatures swimming about. See a creature you like? Tap on it for more info and you can even drop some fish food to garner the attention of it and others nearby. Otherwise, it sounds like they swim around on their own.

Personally, that last one gets my vote. Why? Because I'm way too much of a wuss to go face to face with my favorite sea creature, the Great White shark, in the flesh. Microsoft would have to put one in there, right? But there isn't really a bad one in the bunch, so regardless of which app wins it should be pretty cool. How convincing the experiences are hinge on Microsoft fixing HoloLens' painfully narrow field of view, though.

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