At its annual developer’s conference Build, software giant Microsoft announced that it is shipping its HoloLens computer glasses to developers. Priced at $3000(on Microsoft’s Official Website for this AR), HoloLens will so far ship only to developers in US and Canada. The consumer version is still far and Microsoft remains tight-lipped about its possible launch.
While the Oculus Rift has garnered a lot of attention in the press, Microsoft’s HoloLens appears to be shaping up to be a very interesting take on virtual reality headsets.
The HoloLens was the surprise announcement at the Windows 10 launch earlier in the year with members of the press taken to the firm’s Building 92 for a demonstration of the headset and some hands-on time with it.
At Build 2016, the company showed several demos to showcase the prowess of HoloLens that delivers mixed reality instead of plain virtual reality shown by Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets.
After the failure of Google Glass, the ambitious HoloLens has the potential to replace it. It offers more value than other VR headsets and NASA has already found some genuine use of it.
Here are five things that make it the better ‘Google Glass’.
No cutting off from surrounding
Unlike virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft’s HoloLens VR Headsets doesn’t cut off the users from their surroundings. This means users can continue to see, hear and respond to whatever is going on around them. In typical VR headsets, users are completely cut off from their surroundings.
There are two speaker vents located around ears for audio needs.
A Standalone HoloLens VR / AR Headset
Microsoft HoloLens is a complete wireless independent headset in itself. Users are not required to attach it to a smartphone or PC to enter VR mode. There are physical buttons on the rim of the headset for controlling brightness and volume.
No Screen to stare at
The display technology used in HoloLens is completely different from what is used in VR headsets. Users will not have to stare at a screen in front of their eyes. In HoloLens, it is more of artificial reality than virtual. The display blends into the real world in the form of Holograms. Users will be able to see things around them as well interact with the contents streamed by the headset.
In layman terms, it can be somewhat like a projection that superimposes over objects. For example, users can place a virtual character on any surface and even make it follow them via HoloLens
Not completely a VR or AR Technology
HoloLens is more of a mixed between artificial reality and virtual reality. While VR headsets cuts off users from reality and take them to 3D virtual world via a display screen, HoloLens vr headset adds the virtual to the real world and allow users to interact with it. Hololens responds to voice commands and air-taps- somewhat similar to clicks.
Gaming and Entertainment
The use case of most VR headsets mostly ceases at gaming and entertainment. However, with HoloLens, enterprises can customise it to integrate it in their research. Nasa is using HoloLens to deliver real-life experiences of walking on Mars in a room. The device has also tickled the interests of educators, especially in the field of medicine. Users can integrate Skype chats on the HoloLens.