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Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Say hello to Pixel, a mixed reality dream dog

pixel
Say hello to Pixel, a mixed reality dream dog

I love virtual pets. From feeding colorful beans to my furry (or non-furry) pals in Pokémon Sun, and raising adorable virtual pets in the app Pakka Pets Village. As someone who never got to experience the wonders of Tamagotchis, I’ve made up for it in the years since as I inch toward adulthood, taking care of any adorable virtual creature that crosses my path. Plus, I can’t even own an actual pet in my apartment, so in a way, virtual pets are a necessity. But it’d be better if they felt more lifelike, or interacted beyond a faux-purr.

Good boy.
Good boy.

Pixel the Holodog, an internal HoloLens experiment from Australian digital agency Webling, is a test in bringing virtual pets to mixed reality—where the digital AI can actually interact with us and the environment. Pixel can spatially sense its surroundings and do tasks, from fetching a ball to even being directed by your voice to bark. Pixel can also sit, rollover, play dead, and leap into the air. Pixel is smart, and as HoloLens’ technology develops, the digi-pup keeps getting smarter.

a test in bringing virtual pets to mixed reality

Pixel isn’t the only interactive digital dog experimenting with HoloLens’ potential. Back in May 2015, Microsoft filed a trademark for HoloPet. While the trademark declines to outright mention HoloLens, it does mention being “computer software” and being operated within a “wearable computer peripheral.” Which, c’mon, is definitely HoloLens. Details have remained a mystery on what specifically a Microsoft HoloPet will entail.

You can watch a video of Pixel in action below, and check Webling for future digital projects.

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