Mixed Reality: Sci-Fi, Without the Fi

Abe Arafat
2 min readMar 11, 2018


We all know the scene in our favourite sci-fi movie, where the hero pulls up a hologram of the enemy’s super weapon, with all the logistics and details magically floating around it.

These scenes are no longer the stuff of fiction: this is Mixed Reality.

Imagine being able to see your computer screen floating in the air, being able to click and type using nothing but your fingers. Imagine being able to pull up a 3D image, zoom in, zoom out and remove or add layers. All of this is made possible by Mixed Reality (MR).

The Microsoft Hololens, released to consumers on October 17th, 2017, uses MR, which allows its users to interact with computer generated images being projected in mid-air. However, I’m more interested in real world applications than the actual technology.

So, here are three areas for major innovation within MR:

1. Healthcare

Imagine a world where surgeons wear a Hololens during operation, and image recognition software can instantly tag all the major blood vessels and nerves. Step by step instructions for the surgery could hover above the patient’s body, guiding the doctor’s every move. This would be a huge breakthrough as it could drastically decrease incidents of malpractice.

2. Architecture

SketchUp and Microsoft have collaborated to create a software that allows architects to use MR to design their blueprints. This is an extremely important advancement because with this new program, architects will literally be able to step into the buildings they are designing. Future applications of MR in this field could be running simulations of how different designs would react to environmental factors such and wind or lightning, as well as creating blueprints for the electrical circuits and hydraulic systems of architectural projects.

3. Education

Whether it be a 3D interactive skeleton for biology, or a visual simulation of an astrophysics concept, the educational applications of MR are endless. I look forward to seeing what the innovators of the future come up with!



Abe Arafat

Software Engineering @ McGill University