Holograms – once a futuristic concept out of science fiction movies – are now revolutionizing the way Ford designs its cars.

For the past year, Ford designers at the Dearborn, Michigan studio have swapped the clay-sculpting rakes for mixed reality headsets and visualization software. These designers have been piloting Microsoft HoloLens, a wireless virtual reality tool. Now, Ford is ready to test it globally.

Instead of taking months or years to create new vehicle design elements, such as the grille, interior or side mirrors, the Microsoft HoloLens allows designers to look at new ideas and designs in just minutes. The holograms display onto an actual Ford vehicle or a clay model, and designers – wearing wireless mixed reality headsets – can easily scroll through a variety of design options as they appear on the car.

These 3D designs can be shared with Ford designers and engineers around the world, allowing for greater collaboration. With easier access to new and better designs, Ford can make advanced, functional and stylish vehicles in a fraction of the time.

Revolutionizing design is only one way Ford is looking at changing vehicles and mobility as we know it. With a look ahead to self-driving vehicles and the City of Tomorrow, the Microsoft HoloLens could help bring some of these futuristic ideas to life.

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