The past few days have been really exciting for Natural User Interfaces. Microsoft released the official Hololens SDK and started shipping the first developer devices. I wrote a detailed review of the capabilities of the device a few days ago.
No Hololens device? No problem! The SDK comes with a Hololens Emulator that lets you test your apps and holograms without having a physical device.
Today, I’ll show you how to successfully install the SDK. Since the SDK is still in Developer Preview mode, not every computer will be compatible. I installed the SDK on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and a Surface Pro tablet with absolutely no issues. However, I had no luck on my Apple machines (sad). Before downloading the SDK, you need to ensure that your computer meets the proposed Hololens system requirements.
To develop for Hololens, your PC should meet the following specifications:
- 64-bit Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education (The Home edition does not support Hyper-V)
- 64-bit CPU
- 8 GB of RAM or more
- In the BIOS, the following features must be supported and enabled:
- Hardware-assisted virtualization
- Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
- Hardware-based Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
- GPU (The emulator might work with an unsupported GPU, but will be significantly slower)
- DirectX 11.0 or later
- WDDM 1.2 driver or later
Hololens SDK installation
So, let’s get started with the installation of the required software.
Step 0 – Enable Virtualization
The Hololens Emulator runs as a virtual machine. So, your PC must support virtualization. Virtualization is the ability to create a virtual instance of an operating system. The Hololens Emulator is similar to the Windows Phone emulator. If you’ve installed the Windows Phone tools in the past, you most probably have virtualization enabled already. If that’s true for you, continue to step #1.
After trying to enable virtualization in a number of machines, I can safely say that Surface Pro works like a charm.
To enable virtualization, you need to do it through your BIOS settings. To enter BIOS, restart your computer and hit the manufacturer-specific BIOS key (usually F1 or F11). Then, find the virtualization settings. In my ThinkPad, I needed to navigate to the Settings tab:
Then, I had to enable Intel Virtualization Technology and Intel VT-d:
Finally, I had to simply hit Escape, save, and restart (yeap, we are going to restart a lot of times):
Image credits: amiduos.com
If you go to step #1 and get an error, it means that Hyper-V was not properly supported!
Step 1 – Enable Hyper-V
It’s now time to enable Hyper-V from within Windows. Open your Control Panel and search “Turn Windows Features On or Off”. You should see the following window:
Check the “Hyper-V” option and all of its sub-options. Click OK to enable Hyper-V.
Attention: after enabling Hyper-V, restart your computer as prompted!
Step 2 – Install Visual Studio
Got that far? Great! Let’s install our developer tool. First of all, you need to download Visual Studio Update 2. Run the wizard and leave the default settings checked (you can choose to install additional components, but it will take significantly more time). Wait patiently until the process is finished…
Attention: after Visual Studio is successfully installed, restart your computer as prompted!
Step 3 – Install the Hololens Emulator
The emulator comes as a separate installation package. Download the emulator and run the setup wizard.
If you do not have Virtualization enabled, you’ll get an error. If your computer does not support the emulator, you’ll get an error, too.
Attention: after the Emulator is installed, restart your computer again! Hell, that’s a lot of restarts…
Step 4 – Install Unity
Finally, you’ll have to install a Hololens-compatible version of Unity. Unity is a powerful gaming engine that helps you build 3D apps easily.
Download Unity Technical Preview. There are three steps here:
- Install the 64-bit or 32-bit Unity Editor.
- Install the Universal Windows Platform Runtime.
- Install the Documentation.
If you already have a stable version of Unity installed, do not worry. Unity Technical Preview can run side-by-side with the older installation.
If you get this warning message from your Windows Firewall, check Private and Public networks:
OK, folks – this is it! You have successfully configured your Hololens Development Environment. You are ready to rock!
By now, you should have your Hololens system up and running.
As a next step, we are going to create our first Unity app and deploy it using the Hololens Emulator!
Additionally, I suggest you have a look at the following articles:
- Hololens – The Ultimate Introduction
- Hololens Shell Overview
- Map your room using Hololens
- Holographic Academy
So, did you install the SDK and have any feedback for the community? Let me know in the comments below.