The HoloLens headset from Microsoft is still not really available across Europe, but we’ve been lucky enough to get a shiny new one direct from Microsoft.
See our first film of the HoloLens in action on our YouTube channel.
You may remember the Google Glass, well Microsoft’s HoloLens takes Augmented-Reality to the next level. Unlike other virtual-reality only machines such as the Oculus Rift from Facebook that only let you see a projected image, this augmented-reality headset lets you blend the real world with the digital world and allows you to work in true and impressive harmony. Microsoft describe this as “a new medium for artistic expression” allowing you to “see the world in a different way”.
The HoloLens is surprisingly well-made and for all it’s stand-alone computing power, not as heavy as it looks. All elements including the goggles, microphone, cameras, advanced sensors and spatial speakers are all hung off an adjustable and comfortable headband. The result is a fully solo headset with no wires. The HoloLens unit doesn’t even need to be run off a separate computer nearby. Microsoft claim that this is the first fully un-tethered holographic computer.
There are several ways of controlling the headset and moving around the familiar Windows10 operating system. You could use the separate thumb-controlled clicker device, or simply tell HoloLens what to do via voice commands. Otherwise, the more fun way of controlling this device is through a new sequence of finger and hand gestures. With a little practice these become rather fun for the user and anyone else watching the user tap or squeeze the air in front of them. What becomes apparent is how clever HoloLens is as it tracks your eye movement while you watch the real-world carry on around your now digitally enhanced environment. While still seeing your world, and without being constrained by wires, you just want to start walking and exploring. Lay out a virtual scene – such as a voice-controlled Massey Ferguson 8700 – and you can start exploring the product in beautiful detail from every angle. You can even put your head inside the tractor’s cab for a better view of the cabin controls. In our augmented example, our HoloLens listens out for voice commands and when HoloLens hears ‘Big’ the tractor expands to almost full size. Say “Spin” and the tractor starts rotating past you. If it’s all too in your face, “Small” gets the tractor back into a more manageable size.
While this is all happening, the HoloLens can multi-task too. For instance run a Skype call in another window or perhaps a bit further to your left or right, browse the web in another window.
HoloLens and other augmented-reality headsets will quickly change how we work and especially play. For industry, these headsets allow designers to view 3D prototypes of their designs from any angle in real-time – speeding up design and development. In education it’s going to make learning so much more fun. But for gaming, just see the affect Pokémon Go has had on our culture and for Nintendo as a company. The world has gone mad for this game, but what have Pokémon Go and Microsoft’s HoloLens got in common? They both work around augmented-reality.
So how will Augmented (Mixed) Reality change our lives in the future?
- Industry: HoloLens makes it really quick and easy to prototype new products and instantly see what the product will look like from all angles via a 3D hologram
- Education: The HoloLens is going to make learn far more entertaining and visual – especially for small (and big kids)
- Gaming – Augmented Reality gaming is going to be huge – remember Pokomon go is Augmented Reality and that’s gone down rather well. And Microsoft already bring you the Xbox which integrates nicely with their operating eco-system
- More Useful: how about walking into a meeting room and all the names and job titles of the people in the room are super-imposed by their faces
- Job interviews could be more interesting. Micro-expressions could be analysed and commentary fed back to the interviewer. Interviews don’t now need to be in the same room
- Lawyers in court could reference related material and be fed more info from their team
- Sport referees could quickly playback recorded sequences from the game
- Pricing – how about walking into a shop and automatically being fed the best online prices and reviews for the product you’re looking at. Perhaps even have an augmented YouTube demonstration in front of the product
- Looking at someone and seeing their vital signs and perhaps how well or ill they are
- You could avoid going clothes shopping and have Paul Smith suggest appropriate clothes and virtually let you try them on
- Or, if you find your office decoration a little flat or uninspiring, you could now change it every day, or even by the hour if you’re that bored.
HoloLens, and other similar future holographic based systems are going to make massive changes and improvements to our lifestyles and fundamentally change how our children will learn things. Other big changes could include:
- Not needing a mobile phone anymore
- Not needing computer monitors
- Not needing TV’s in our living rooms
- Not needing to type anymore
- Getting used to people doing crazy hand-gestures in the street
- In the further future, we’ll probably have this technology implanted directly in our eyes
It’s fantastic what the future holds for us. If you want to try out our demos on HoloLens or other marketing technologies we feature on our YouTube channel, just get in touch or come and see us. We love talking about the possibilities of how these technologies and the latest marketing strategies can help solve current business problems.