Microsoft announced several exciting things at its latest Windows 10 event, and HoloLens powered by the Windows Holographic OS are worthy of some special attention.
Augmented reality (AR) is something many have been dreaming about for years, but so far we haven't seen a mainstream AR headset. Some applications did venture into this territory, including Google's controversial Glass goggles, but didn't really seem like truly immersive devices that would enhance one's world.
The new HoloLens eyewear from Microsoft, along with the Windows Holographic OS, could be the big break AR needs, although the company made no mention of augmented reality in its presentation. Instead, Microsoft preferred the term "hologram" to refer to virtual objects seen only through these glasses. Whatever the term, Windows Holographic aims to combine the real world of one's office or home with the virtual world of one's computer, enhancing it.
"Windows 10 is the world's first holographic computing platform - complete with a set of APIs that enable developers to create holographic experiences in the real world. With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps and Windows universal apps can work as holograms, making it possible to place three-dimensional holograms in the world around you to communicate, create and explore in a manner that is far more personal and human," Microsoft touted in a blog post on the Windows blog.
"Showcasing the possibilities of holograms in Windows 10, Microsoft HoloLens is the world's first untethered holographic computer - no wires, phones or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows you to view holograms in high definition and hear them in surround sound, even if they are behind you. And with advanced sensors, Microsoft HoloLens can see what you are looking at and understand what you are communicating with your hands and voice. By putting you at the center of the Windows 10 computing experience, Microsoft HoloLens allows you to create, access information, enjoy entertainment, and communicate in new and exciting ways," the company further explains.
More specifically, HoloLens will allow users to pin shortcuts or applications to physical locations in their house, for instance. Moreover, it will allow users to turn any wall into a large screen for video calls or work space, without requiring a projector. 3D tutorials would provide a more comprehensive experience, enabling users to create, control, and share 3D objects that don't exist beyond the digital world.
HoloLens could finally take augmented reality mainstream, which would lead to far more AR features and applications in the future. It's an important step forward in the right direction, and more AR hardware and software will likely come up from now on, as various companies will join the race. To get a better idea of what HoloLens can do, check out the video below.