Mind Blown With the New Hololens Demo (Video)

What were once the trappings of ‘80s and ‘90s sci-fi flicks are becoming the stuff of reality. Starting in 2016, virtual reality headsets will finally be hitting the market for consumer purchase, allowing people to turn their living rooms into exciting new worlds to explore. The Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR are both slated for release in quarter one of 2016. Microsoft is also making waves in virtual reality with its HoloLens, which was just recently revealed. And it’s pretty insane.

HoloLens is a smart-glasses headset developed by Microsoft. While other VR devices require a computer, the HoloLens is entirely self-contained and runs on Windows 10 – meaning, you won’t need to invest in a fancy gaming PC to enjoy it. The headset features a holographic processor and binaural speakers, that gives the illusion of spatial effects. This all sounds really neat and high tech, but how does HoloLens separate itself from the other virtual reality devices breaking out onto the market?

One of the biggest differences is that users will be able to see their real life surroundings WHILE using the HoloLens. The Oculus and PlayStation VR block out your surroundings, totally immersing you in virtual reality. With HoloLens, you can display menus on your living room walls or walk around and interact with other people normally, while wearing the headset. While the demo gives the appearance of holograms being projected onto your living room walls, these images are only visible through the HoloLens headset. Everyone else sitting on the couch with you will just see a person waving their arms in eccentric circles.

The device tracks your every movement, allowing you to use hand gestures to interact with projected images. As you can imagine, the technology behind it is pretty impressive. The HoloLens uses a series of different colored lenses through which a light mounted on the headset shines to create different effects, which are then output into the eye. If you want to move around a projected object to examine it from a different angle, you can do that. You can even place 3D projections inside of objects in your room. We see this in the demo above as an entire Minecraft structure is pulled out of a table.


Apart from gaming, HoloLens is expected to have more practical uses. You can share your HoloLens camera via Skype, allowing the person on the other end a direct view of what you’re seeing via the smart-glasses. The Skype user drew circles and arrows on their tablet which appeared as holograms in the HoloLens’ line of vision, helping the HoloLens user to repair their bathroom sink. Whaaat?!

We may have to wait a few more months to see how virtual reality devices will affect the way we interact with technology, but if they are successful, the change could be staggering. While today we are still used to mice, keyboards, and controllers, we may find ourselves using hand gestures to manipulate holographic projections and interact with computers. With devices like the HoloLens, science fiction doesn’t sound so far fetched these days.



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