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MicrosoftPaolo TosoliniRDResearchTosolini ProductionsUnityVirtual RealityVR

[R&D] Lake Bill at Microsoft HQ: from 3D scan to VR9229

Tosolini
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Microsoft HQ campus in Redmond, WA is undergoing a huge modernization effort. One of the iconic sections of the old campus is Lake Bill. Named after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, it has been the site of team celebrations and pranks for years. The lake itself is staying, but the surrounding buildings (known for their "X" shape) will be replaced.

Tosolini Productions took a 3D capture of the area and created a #VR experience of it. Here is the workflow explained by our talented VR designer Michael Gelon.

The 3D capture was created using a Leica BLK360 laser scanner. The scanner uses LIDAR technology, short for "light radar," to accurately determine distances as it spins on a tripod. #Matterport integration meant the data could be exported into manageable formats.

Next, Tosolini Productions envisioned ways to immerse viewers into the digital space. Viewing the scan as a point cloud reveals how the LIDAR system captures data. Trees, with motion and intricate variances in depth, are notoriously hard to capture. Reflective surfaces like water also challenge the system.

Considering these challenges, the next step was recreating the area to exact measurements in #Unity3d. Unity3d is a real-time game development engine that allows for easy mixed reality prototyping. With added water, vegetation, and koi fish inspired by the real location, the immersion of the original scan comes to life.

The last step was adding simple VR controls to the space, allowing users to step inside and get a feel for the scale and atmosphere of the lake. The result is a memory that can be stepped into and explored from any angle, unlike a traditional photo or video. As the technology involved grows, these types of captures may integrate advanced #AI to help with accuracy and polish. Future solutions could integrate 3D audio and volumetric video capture.

Old campus may be disappearing, but the memory remains.
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@Tosolini

Thanks for sharing.

Cool to see the data view of the space.

Best,

Dan
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