Meet the team using mixed reality for cancer research

Dr. Olivier Elemento (left) alongside with his Ph.D students Neil Madhukar and Katie Gayvert, analyze medical network data (photo courtesy of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)

Welcome! This is Making mixed reality, a series celebrating the passionate community creating apps and experiences with Windows Mixed Reality. Here, developers, designers, artists (and more!) share how and why they got started, as well as their latest tips. We hope this series inspires you to join the community and get building!

Meeting Alexandros Sigaras and Sophia Roshal was a lot like mixed reality: a digital-physical fusion. It first happened through a flurry of tweets and emails as Alexandros, a senior research associate at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and Sophia, a WCM software engineer, rapidly prototyped a Microsoft HoloLensapplication to achieve the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine’s “cancer moonshot,” a promise to empower better and faster cancer research, data collaboration, and accessible care. Soon after I was lucky enough to demo their project in-person. It’s now in the Windows Store as Holo Graph, an app enabling researchers to bring their own network data into the real world to explore, manipulate, and collaborate with other researchers in real-time, be they in the same room or on the other side of the planet.

Find out what makes this team tick, and how they make big data approachable with Windows Mixed Reality.

Sophia Roshal looks at a graph of medical data (photo courtesy of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine)

Why HoloLens, and why Windows Mixed Reality?

Sophia: It’s the logical next step. You usually constantly switch from window to window [on a PC]. With HoloLens, you stay in one place. You can just point at something; you don’t have to use your mouse. It’s just so much more of a natural environment, which is great.

The best part of mixed reality for me is seeing other people try it for the first time. They are surprised how well interactions between the real world and holograms work, and are excited to see new updates. The most exciting part is to see the endless possibilities of mixed reality. From games to medical research, there are still many applications of mixed reality to explore.

Alexandros: One of the key questions we get every single time we show HoloLens to someone who is already an avid developer is, “Why HoloLens, and not a 2D screen? Why does this revolutionize our work?” The key answer behind this is simplicity, connecting these dots. The amount of high-quality data that you can parse through with holograms is significantly more than the amount of data that you could create in a table and fuse together in your brain! Tangibility and collaboration are the biggest improvements. It’s like saying the mouse and the keyboard are absolutely great, but phone touch screens are a better user interface. We treat HoloLens as a technology that allows us to go to a higher level, make things more tangible, and remove the challenges of making connections in your brain because you actually see and manipulate them.

Source: Making mixed reality: a conversation with Alexandros Sigaras and Sophia Roshal - Windows Experience Blog