When Microsoft introduced the HoloLens a few months ago, it was both surprising, and totally mind blowing. It showed off a video demo where users played Minecraft all over their living room, and displayed a Skype video call in the air while fixing a pipe. However, with the tech demo it previewed today at the BUILD developer conference, it’s clear that the technology has already come a long way.
On the more casual side, Microsoft showed how the HoloLens can recognize spaces you use frequently, allowing you to set up your office, or your living room, to a consistent layout every time you’re there. Put your Skype contacts on the fridge, and it will always be there. Slap your calendar on the coffee table, and as soon as you turn on the HoloLens it will be there waiting for you.
But it’s not just about watching movies while sitting on the toilet. Microsoft has also partnered up with the medical clinics to create software that will help doctors see examples of internal organs and systems. That’s an amazing benefit that could actually save lives, as cheesy as that sounds.
As an engineering tool, the HoloLens is able to interface with the world around it, scan its surroundings for surfaces and dimensions, and track objects that move. It can interface with other devices and act as both sensor and control mechanism — all without you having to sit down at your desk.
As a concept, it’s very different from what we’re used to seeing from Microsoft. The all-in-one device has no cords, its own battery, and runs without the help of a phone or another computer. Microsoft aims to make the HoloLens real, and valuable, so it doesn’t end up as another gimmick. Instead, the company likely hopes it could shift computing entirely.