In June of 2015, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Microsoft presented a demo (below) of what it is like to play Minecraft using HoloLens. The audience was amazed as the digitized world came off the screen and became an overlay on the real world.
Unlike the completely immersive experience of virtual reality, a la Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the HoloLens allows users to combine the physical world with an immersive virtual experience. Google Glass and other augmented reality efforts provide small “windows” on the real world while Microsoft is using holograms to create complete 3D virtual images. The HoloLens also runs all other Windows applications, allowing users not to have to rely on a screen.
Use cases for HoloLens go beyond gaming, as the technology finds a seamless space for the virtual and real worlds to meet, interact, and collaborate. As our BRITE ’16 speaker Scott Erickson, Senior Director of HoloLens, explains in an interview with The Verge, HoloLens provides users with “the ability to walk around, to overlay holographic information and make it contextual to physical objects that are in the [same] space.”
A very interesting aspect of the experience is precisely the capability to interact with others around you, both those who are using a holographic computer and those who aren’t. Cliff Kuang from Fast Company, explains that “Microsoft has already conducted hundreds of hours of user testing to figure out just how we might interact in this new hybrid reality. They’ve already come up with some very clever interactions, like making your gaze function as a mouse pointer.”
The only reported downside to HoloLens is that the field of vision for where holograms can appear is still limited.
In early 2016, Microsoft opened up applications for the HoloLens Development Edition, which will ship by the end of the first quarter of the year. With a price tag of $3000 for the kit, it is still unknown what the price of the consumer model will be.
In the meantime, Microsoft is using its Flagship store in NYC to allow developers and a few lucky curious to test the HoloLens.
Join us on March 7-8 for BRITE ’16 and see Microsoft’s Scott Erickson talk about HoloLens and the possibilities of a mixed reality world. Plus, when you register, you will have a chance to sign-up and visit the flagship store to experience the HoloLens yourself.