A student playing the trumpet wearing a HoloLens

Students get hands-on with HoloLens app development

When Microsoft gave Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic an early look at the technology company’s new HoloLens device in 2014, leaders of both institutions immediately saw enormous potential for teaching anatomy at their new joint Health Education Campus.

But as select faculty and students learned more about the mixed-reality visor, they realized its possibilities stretched well beyond medicine.

Creating a holographic anatomy curriculum for medical students remains the top priority for Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic, but a handful of undergraduates have had the opportunity to explore other applications. Among the first are projects in music, psychology, and sustainability—but those are clearly just a beginning.

“HoloLens is your world, but better—immersing you in an experience you couldn’t get otherwise,” said Jessie Adkins, a computer science major/game design minor.

This spring, Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic released the first third-party app for Microsoft HoloLens, HoloAnatomy. The full curriculum is expected to be completed—including beta and comparative testing with current students—by the time the new Health Education Campus opens in summer 2019.

Meanwhile, faculty like Marc Buchner, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, marvel at the excitement HoloLens already has inspired.

“They don’t want to graduate,” he said with a laugh. “They want to know how they can slow down so they can work with this.”