Madison startup testing augmented/virtual reality technology in southeast Wisconsin schools

The classroom of the future has arrived in Wisconsin, and if the founders of Madison-based Holos have their way, the startup’s augmented reality/virtual reality technology could soon make the shoebox diorama a thing of the past.Holos is a spatial computing platform. The startup behind the technology is testing out its immersive learning experiences in the classroom, giving teachers and students the ability to create, organize and learn — all in 3-D.Think of Holos as a 3-D version of Powerpoint, says the company’s co-founder and CEO, Dan Borkhus.“You’re in a virtual reality space where you can ‘pull’ in photos, videos, text or 3-D models into your environment,” says Borkhus. Users can also “stretch” or resize the models as they see fit. “We can then control what the environment looks like. We can put you in the Amazon rainforest or in Ancient Egypt.”The space that has been created can then be saved into a library, and shared across the platform. A teacher in Sheboygan can share the same content to a teacher in Appleton, for example.In addition to the company’s uniquely positioned “drag-and-drop” interface, Holos is also making waves for its hands-free, voice-activated features. Unlike most AR/VR programs, there are no controllers.Just ask Arnold. That’s the name of the program’s virtual assistant.“It works like Siri,” explains Tyler Waite, Holos co-founder. “Except there’s a visual result back.”

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