Do you ever wish that you had the holographic technology of Tony Stark and SHIELD? Well, that technology may not be far off. Microsoft has announced that their latest innovation, the HoloLens, a pair of holographic image-generating glasses, will be released in the same timeframe as Windows 10.
Is the Microsoft HoloLens the Future of Computing?
The Google Glass tried and failed to be the first successful headset-based computing innovation, but maybe the Microsoft HoloLens has a chance. It is designed to insert holographic projections into the world around you by looking through the special lenses and using hand gestures and voice commands. It will be completely untethered and independent from any computers, tablets, or phones. It’s designed as a fully-functioning, self-contained computer, and it’ll be running a special version of Windows 10, to boot (pun intended)!
Microsoft boasts that their new gadget has far more computing power than a normal PC, and operates without the need for a fan or wires. Using its specialized Windows 10 operating system, the HoloLens will effectively remove the need for peripheral devices or screens. This is because the three-dimensional images produced by the headset will have the ability to interact with the user’s environment. In other words, users will be able to watch videos on virtual holographic screens “attached” to a wall, surf the internet on a holographic screen “hanging” in midair, and even turn their environment into a place to play games.
With the HoloLens, people will also be able to video chat and create virtual environments in which to do work. Scientists will be able to design and run tests and people will be able to communicate with their loved ones as never before. No longer will these activities be limited to a screen. They will be dynamic and capable of doing what you need them to do.
Features and Design
The HoloLens has a multitude of sensors built into it that actively map the world around you. This is why Microsoft says it has far more computing power than the average PC. The HoloLens needs that power in order to process all of the data it is constantly receiving. The lenses are specially made to create 3D images that fool your mind into thinking you’re looking at a hologram. They’re basically high-tech 3D movie glasses that produce images you can actually “touch” and interact with (I’m sure most of us tried to “touch” the image of the first 3D movie we watched). But despite the fact that the images aren’t “real” holograms, they will seem like it.
To enhance the holographic experience, the advanced sound system built into the sides of the headset will give sound to all of your holographic images, no matter where they are. I’m guessing it will also deliver some pretty sweet sound for your favorite music. An adjustable strap fits to your head and distributes the weight of the device evenly. Compact and powerful memory drives are built-in all along the wrap-around part. This is truly a good-looking, high-tech piece of potential awesomeness.
Will the HoloLens Be Successful?
There are so many things that could be done with the Microsoft HoloLens, if it is as good as Microsoft says it will be. It has been compared to the new Oculus Rift, an anxiously-awaited headset that immerses videogamers into the world of the game. But unlike the Oculus Rift, this high-tech pair of glasses will show you both your regular world, and the 3D computer projections that you wish to see and work with. It has also been compared to the Google Glass, although the creators are quick to say that the experience and design are completely different (which is good, considering that the Google Glass flopped). Microsoft has gone on to say that it has received a huge surge of excited support from other organizations, many of which have provided more great ideas for how to use the HoloLens.
Many people who have pondered the future of technology have thought about the rise of holographic computing. It’s in our movies and in books, and it’s being researched all around the world. The Microsoft HoloLens might just be the first step into realizing the full potential of holographic computing.
Some Things to Consider
However, it might take time for the HoloLens to gain any traction with everyday people. Most are still used to physical screens, keyboards, and mice, and the transition would be drastic, if not a bit jarring. Phones, tablets, and laptops still dominate the portable electronics scene, and probably will for a while longer until the HoloLens is further developed and perfected. Microsoft says that they are trying to turn science fiction into science fact, which is awesome. But it will be odd to use at first, especially when you see other users waving their hands around in midair at images no one else can see.
It’s difficult at this point to tell how well the device will do. But this is a potentially significant first step into holographic computing and it will be interesting to see how the HoloLens will function, develop, and change.