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Microsoft HoloLens

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 titanic1    223



Microsoft's HoloLens is one of the most magical pieces of technology I've ever seen. It could change the world. But if you bought one today, for your own personal use, I guarantee you'd hate it.

For over a year, journalists have written breathless descriptions of the amazing things they've seen inside the HoloLens headset, but they've never been able to give you the full picture. Microsoft planned it that way. The first time I tried HoloLens, I actually had to surrender my camera and phone, only to walk through a set of scripted experiences in a secret bunker underneath Microsoft's Redmond campus.


It was exciting stuff. And still is, honestly. Have you seen our video yet?

But this week, Microsoft let us see what it's actually like to use HoloLens for real. I spent 90 minutes with an actual $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition on my head, watching as computer-generated objects popped into existence in my real world. I walked around an ordinary hotel suite, with no Microsoft supervision, and saw what these holograms were capable of. It made my mind swirl with the possibilities.

It also made me very, very glad that Microsoft has no intention of ever releasing the current developer kit to regular, non-developer people. It's not even close to ready.


Windows Holographic is a mixed reality[1] platform developed by Microsoft, built around the API of Windows 10.

Holographic works by enabling applications in which the live presentation of physical real-world elements is incorporated with that of virtual elements (referred to as "holograms" by Microsoft[2][3][4][a]) such that they are perceived to exist together in a shared environment. A variant of Windows for augmented reality computers[1] (which augment a real-world physical environment with virtual elements) Windows Holographic features an augmented-reality operating environment in which any Universal Windows App can run. In addition, with Windows Holographic Platform APIs, which are part of the Universal Windows Platform, and supported as standard in Windows 10 (including versions for mobile devices and Xbox One), mixed reality features can be readily implemented in any Universal Windows App, for a wide range of Windows 10-based devices.[5]

Microsoft announced Windows Holographic at its "Windows 10: The Next Chapter" press event on January 21, 2015.[6] It is set to be introduced through the smart glasses headset Microsoft HoloLens, as part of the general rollout of Windows 10. The Windows 10 launch began July 29, 2015 with release of the PC version,[7] with the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition being released beginning March 30, 2016.[8]


Opening up the HoloLens is a startling reminder that this is a self-contained holographic computer. Unlike the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets, it’s completely untethered and doesn’t need to communicate with a PC or phone to project holograms into the environment around you. It's a Windows 10 PC that sits on your head. That’s impressive in itself, but it wasn’t always that way. Microsoft has spent years refining the headset and associated hardware so you don’t need a giant PC to use it. The first time I used HoloLens in January last year, I had to hang a miniature PC around my neck. It has come a long way since those early units.


The magic of HoloLens is a combination of see-through holographic lenses, an array of sensors, and the processing required to understand your gestures, gaze, voice, and the environment around you. It’s tempting to compare it to the work Google did with its Glass project, but the HoloLens is trying something different and it feels more immersive as a result. This headset understands the objects in your living room, and it projects holograms into your eyes that don’t jerk around. I played a Conker game and the squirrel literally climbed up a coffee table and ran across pillows. It really felt, at times, like Conker was in the room with me.


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