A Guide to Online HoloLens Tutorials

There are lots of great video tutorials and advanced HoloLens materials online that even people who work with HoloLens aren’t always aware of. I’d like to fix that in this post.

1. The Fundamentals


If you are still working through the basics with the HoloLens, then I highly recommend the course that Dennis Vroegop and I did for LinkedIn Learning: App Development for Microsoft HoloLens. We approached it with the goal of providing developers with everything we wish we had known when we started working with HoloLens in early 2016. The course was filmed in a studio at the Lynda.com campus in Carpinteria, California, so the overall quality is considerably higher than most other courses you’ll find.


2. The Mixed Reality Toolkit (HoloToolkit)


Once you understand the fundamentals of working with the HoloLens, the thing to learn is the ins-and-outs of the Mixed Reality Toolkit, which is the open source SDK for working with the HoloLens APIs. Stephen Hodgson, a Mixed Reality developer at Valorem, is one of the maintainers of (and probably biggest developer on) the MRTK. He does live streams on Saturdays to address people’s questions about the toolkit. His first two hour-long streamcasts cover the MRTK Input module:

#1 Input 1

#2 Input 2

The next three deal with Sharing Services:

#3 Sharing 1

#4 Sharing 2

#5 Sharing 3

These courses provide the deepest dive you’re ever likely to get about developing for HoloLens.


3. HoloLens Game Tutorial


Sometimes it is helpful to have a project to work through from start to finish. Chad Carter provides this with a multipart series on game development for Mixed Reality. So far there are five lessons … but the course is ongoing and well worth keeping up with.

#1 Setup

#2 Core Game Logic

#3 The Game Controller

#4 Motion Controllers

#5 Keeping Score


4. Scale and Rotation System


Jason Odom’s tutorial series deals with using Unity effectively for HoloLens. It brings home the realization that most of 3D development revolves around moving, resizing, hiding and revealing objects. It’s written for an older version of the toolkit, so some things will have changed since then. By the way, Jason’s theme song for this series is an ear worm. Consider yourself warned.

#1 Setup

#2 Scale and Rotate Manager

#3 Scale and Rotate Class

#4 Scale and Rotate Class part 2 

#5 Scale and Rotate Class part 3

#6 Scale and Rotate More Manager Changes

#7 Scale and Rotate Temporary Insanity

#8 Scale and Rotate Q & A


5. HoloLens Academy

There’s also, of course, Microsoft’s official tutorial series known as the HoloLens Academy. It’s thorough and if you follow through the lessons, you’ll gain a broad understanding of the capabilities of the HoloLens device. One thing to keep in mind is that the tutorials are not always synced up with the latest MRTK so don’t get frustrated when you encounter a divergence between what the tutorials tell you to do and what you find in the MRTK, which is being updated at a much more rapid rate than the tutorials are.


6. Summing up

You’re probably now wondering if watching all these videos will make you a HoloLens expert. First of all, expertise isn’t something that you arrive at overnight. It takes time and effort.

Second of all – yeah. Pretty much. HoloLens development is a very niche field and it hasn’t been around for very long. It has plenty of quirks but all these videos will address those quirks either directly or obliquely. If you follow all these videos, you’ll know most of everything I know about the HoloLens, which is kinda a lot.

So have fun, future expert!

10 Questions with Phoenix Perry


Certain people are bellwethers for creative technology and you want to check in on what they are up to every 3 to 6 months to find out where the zeitgeist of the coding world is headed. I’m thinking of people like Kyle McDonald, James George and Phoenix Perry – folks who, per Jean Cocteau’s maxim, manage to stay on the avant-garde even when everyone else has caught up to what had been the avant-garde half a year earlier.

Phoenix is currently teaching physical computing in London. She has spoken and led workshops at most of the leading conferences devoted to emerging technology. You can (and should) keep up  with her adventures on her website, phoenixperry.com, and on twitter.

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
The women of Code Liberation. Over the duration of the organization have radically shifted how I think and who I am. Mentoring younger women in tech has changed who I am. The conversations we have are inspired and open up my mind to a deeper,  more compassionate way to live.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
This week. The river is different every time you step into it.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
I think it’s more a skill level. People assume I’m some super expert but the truth is I’m often relearning my skill set constantly because it’s so broad. For example, every single time I look at javascript, it’s brand new all over. I’ll go delve in an area deeply and the other spaces will move forward and I’m a novice all over again.

What inspires you to learn?
Humility at how little I know.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
I need to believe the people around me value my work and contributions.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
I hate Opera. Have no real reason why other than it sounds so annoying to my ears. 
What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?

One that allows me to interact with one experience fluidly across contexts.

What book have you recommended the most?
Memories, Dreams and Reflections by Carl Jung