Microsoft is readying 'Maquette' a mixed-reality prototyping tool

Microsoft is beta testing a mixed-reality prototyping tool that works with Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets.

Microsoft quietly has begun testing a mixed-reality prototyping tool known as "Maquette." A beta, video tutorials and a feedback site for the product already are live.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft's site describes Maquette as "a mixed reality tool for creating immersive prototypes using a PC VR headset."

(Maquette is a French term for a small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture. "Bozzetto" is an Italian equivalent of the term.)

"We're working on a new way to prototype ideas in VR (virtual reality," the site adds.Microsoft officials note on the site that it's difficult to "sketch and iterate spatial ideas quickly in 3D space," so a tool that can do this quickly and simply is needed.

Marquette began as an internal tool aimed at providing Microsoft designers with a way to explorer mixed reality using the medium itself. The Maquette beta works with Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, the site says.

(Thanks to "The Walking Cat" on Twitter, whom I believe was the first to post a link to Maquette.)

I'm not sure when Microsoft is intending to make a bigger splash about Maquette. It's worth remembering, however, that lately the company has been emphasizing the business uses of its augmented reality HoloLens headset. Third-party Windows Mixed Reality sets seem somewhat more broadly focused on both consumers and business customers.