Who could have predicted that for the presentation of Windows 10 Microsoft had an ace up its sleeve… and often ace. Nothing less than an augmented reality viewer that does not use a screen as such, but a kind of retinal projection more advanced than what has been seen so far in public. Welcome to HoloLens.
Microsoft’s silence regarding virtual and augmented reality has completely blown up with HoloLens, a device that looks like something out of a science fiction movie. And its operation also seems extracted from the imagination of some Hollywood director, since it tricks our brain into perceiving light as matter. As we read in Wired, light particles bounce millions of times on the device’s so-called “light engine”. Then the photons pass through the two lenses of the glasses, where they bounce between layers of blue, green and red glass before reaching the back of our eye. When the light hits at the right angle is when the miracle occurs. If someone has just come to mind the word hologram, you have hit the nail on the head.
It is therefore an augmented reality device that, if completely obscured, could work as a virtual reality viewer completely blocking our view of the real world, although this point has yet to be seen. The integrated sensors allow the viewer to know our location and also recognizes our gestures and our voice. This technology, which Microsoft has been developing for years in collaboration with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory among others, can completely revolutionize and merge virtual and augmented reality with a stroke of a pen, but it is still too early to make bold statements. But there is no denying that Microsoft has taken a real blow to the table and has completely shaken the foundations of what is still being built.
Applications? All. Video games, science, entertainment, music, cinema… anything we can think of. No doubt Microsoft has waited for the opportune moment to reveal HoloLens, and has chosen to do so after CES in Las Vegas, to ensure that all the spotlight would be focused on this revolutionary viewer. Even if I had done it when and where I would have done it, the result would have been the same: open mouths everywhere.
But what do we know about the technical specifications? Hardly anything, except that it has an integrated CPU and GPU. There are no FOV or resolution details, but when we are talking about holograms, it is possible that this last detail is not reflected in the same way as when looking at a screen with two lenses. The motion detection system would be based on Kinect technology, but integrated into the viewfinder and with a wide viewing angle, around 120×120º according to Wired, which would practically be able to see our hands even if we have our arms stretched out.
On the other hand, the appearance is much lighter than that of the HMDs that we are used to seeing, and obviously it is very striking and futuristic. Finally, the release date is not very far off in time, since Microsoft hopes to have it ready at the same time as Windows 10, that is, at the end of the year. Now it remains to be seen if there are any announcements of third-party software in the coming days.