Windows Mixed Reality now lets you peek into the real world

By: Matthew Adams
2 minute read

Windows Mixed Reality is a series of Windows 10 virtual reality headsets that mixes VR with AR. Microsoft updated Windows 10 and Edge to fully support Windows Mixed Reality last year. Now the software giant has introduced a Flashlight option that will enable WMR users to take a peek into the real world without removing their headsets.

Microsoft’s Mr. Sarkar announced Flashlight along with the latest Windows 10 preview builds for the Redstone 5 and 19H1 updates. Flashlight is one of the new things Microsoft has included within the latest Windows 10 build previews. Thus, Windows Insiders on the Skip Ahead and Fash rings can try out Flashlight with their WMR headsets. Mr. Sarkar stated on Windows Blogs:

Today we are excited to announce that we are adding the ability to peer into your physical environment through Flashlight – without removing your headset! With the latest Windows Insider Program build, you can open a portal into your real world at any time via the Start menu, a button shortcut, or a voice command.

A YouTube video (below) shows Flashlight in action. The video shows that you can activate Flashlight with a “Flashlight on” command or by pressing a button shortcut pretty much as Mr. Sarkar stated on the Windows Blogs. When users turn on Flashlight, a circular ring appears that includes a monochrome video feed of the real world that they can move around.

Flashlight could be a very handy addition to WMR headsets. For example, without Flashlight you would need to remove the VR headset to pick up a drink glass on a table. Now you can activate Flashlight to pick up a drink with the headset on.

Aside from Flashlight, the new Windows 10 preview builds also include additional emojis. The new build previews include 157 new Unicode 11 emojis to select on the Emoji Panel. Superheroes, pirate flags, llama and softball are among the new emojis in the latest build previews.

However, Flashlight is undoubtedly the most notable new addition in the latest Redstone 5 preview. The new Flashlight will certainly be a handy new video mode for WMR headsets, which are still lagging behind the likes of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. You can activate the new Flashlight mode when Redstone 5 rolls out in October 2018.

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