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HoloLens adds mixed reality to a Japanese national treasure

You'll have to go to Japan to experience it, though.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
February 21, 2018
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Microsoft/hakuhodo-VRAR

One of the best ways to give centuries-old artifacts a modern touch is mixed reality. The technology allows you to add interesting elements to any object without actually touching or altering it in any way. Microsoft, for instance, has helped Tokyo-based mixed reality lab hakuhodo-VRAR turn a Japanese national artwork from the 1600s into an interactive experience for HoloLens. They're applying mixed reality to the The Folding Screen of Fujin and Raijin (Wind and Thunder God), explaining the motivations of its Edo-period artist, Tawaraya Sōtatsu, in an immersive experience.

When visitors stand in front of the National Treasure with a HoloLens on, a holographic version of a Zen Buddhist monk will explain what Sōtatsu meant to convey with his artwork through a dynamic graphic narrative. You'll see the artwork brought to life with rainclouds, lightning and thunder, find yourself standing above a lush Earth and in outer space surrounded by celestial bodies. The 10-minute experience will also show you 3D versions of the other art pieces painted by artists Sōtatsu inspired.

The bad news is, you'll only be able to experience it yourself if you're in Japan in the end of February, since you will need to stand in front of the Wind and Thunder God screen. You can see the national artwork and experience its accompanying MR Museum in Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto's oldest Zen Buddhism temple founded in 1202, from February 22nd to 24th. If you won't be able to make it there, you'll get another chance to see the exhibit when it's displayed at Kyoto National Museum from February 28th to March 2nd.

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