Yes, headsets like the Oculus Rift and Gear VR have their own takes on augmented reality, but Microsoft is going beyond virtual worlds with the announcement of Windows Holographic and Windows HoloLens.
It’s a holographic world, after all
Windows Holographic is, at its core, Microsoft’s take on augmented reality, but it utilizes holograms. Powering it all is Microsoft HoloLens, a headset that the company describes as “the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen.” The HoloLens headset is equipped with see-through, holographic lenses. It projects holograms that are powered by an unspecified CPU and GPU, alongside a dedicated holographic processor. The HoloLens headset incorporates spatial sound, which allows you to “hear” holograms around you, as well as a wide array of sensors.
Best of all, the headset works independent of other devices, so there’s no need to tether it to a phone or PC.
The video presentation for the HoloLens headset showed some ambitious visions of the future. It gave us an idea of what it would be like to play Minecraft in your living room, Skype and watch live TV from any surface, or walk alongside the Mars Curiosity Rover during a tour of the Martian surface. The HoloLens even shared a glimpse of new ways to show off the latest 3D design of your company’s product with a fellow employee.
Build holograms with Holo Studio
While Microsoft certainly invites developers to try their hands at developing applications for the HoloLens headset, it decided to write an app of its own. Called Holo Studio, the app lets you create a hologram by utilizing a Windows 10-like user interface. You can pinch to zoom and reach out to touch elements of the UI, such as the tools to change color.
Additionally, there are voice controls to do things like copy content and enable rotation. When you’re done with your masterpiece, you can have it 3D printed, seeing as Holo Studio is the equivalent of a holographic preview.
It’s still early in development
With all things considered, the HoloLens headset is still early in development. Even so, Microsoft announced it will be made available “in the Windows 10 timeframe.” More information on the HoloLens will be revealed during Build, Microsoft’s annual developer conference.
In the meantime, Microsoft promised everyone in attendance would be able to try Holographic and HoloLens, so stay tuned for our hands-on coverage. The announcement video is below for your viewing pleasure.