|Display type:||Proprietary “holographic” display technology|
|Field of view:||Approx. 40 degrees (unconfirmed)|
|Audio:||Yes, no sound isolation|
|Optics:||TBA, can be worn with glasses|
|Type:||Self-contained mobile HMD|
The Microsoft Hololens is a truly unique device. First of all, it is important to note that it is a device designed more for augmented reality than virtual reality. Instead of replacing your perception of reality, it simply blends virtual elements into the real world, ensuring that you perceive both real and virtual realities as one.
For example, you might examine a model of the Eiffel Tower sitting on your desk. The desk is real, but the tower is just a digital projection, created and seen through the Hololens. The Hololens isn’t a fully immersive device, however; at least not in its current iteration. The field of view is fairly narrow, estimated at only 40 degrees.
The Hololens is an incredibly sophisticated piece of hardware. It possesses a huge array of sensors to map out the environment in your visual field, and has a dedicated coprocessor that determines how to project an image that will look like it’s actually blending in with its background. This almighty task is one that it achieves through utilizing the perceived light conditions, and the state of the various surfaces that it can sense in front of it.
The Hololens is not only a HMD, it is actually a fully independent Windows 10 operated computer that happens to attach to your head; one that responds to both gestures and vocal input. It represents a remarkable shift in the way we have been interacting with computing devices, and it has the potential to eventually phase out physical objects that we once saw as vital – such as our computer monitors.
It is interesting to note that Hololens users can share a view of certain projected objects. For example, in one demonstration (seen in the video below) we can see several students standing around a projected image of the human skeleton, all able to perceive the same thing through their unique devices.
Few specific details are known about the Hololens right now. At the current price of $3000. however, we can assume that its first customers are going to be from professional and industrial fields such as engineering, medicine and architecture. The features that Microsoft have highlighted (such as a version of Minecraft) prove that they definitely aim to have the product in the hands of the general public eventually, which will mean a price reduction somewhere along the line.
Devices like the Hololens give us a glimpse into a future of wearable computers and mediated reality; a future that the virtual reality revolution is set to bring us.