Microsoft announced, to much fanfare, their version of a wearable augmented reality device. For all the non-dorks out there I’ll explain, Augmented reality is when a device overlays digital information over the real world. Let me also give you a physical example. Google’s Google Glass device looks like glasses frames with a single square lens that beams an image directly in the user’s eye. The user can still see the physical world, but they see it through a semi-translucent layer of information or images. Microsoft has upped the ante though. Their device named HoloLens actually superimposes holographic images over the user’s vision of the physical world.
You can manipulate any information that is superimposed over your vision using both your hands and voice. During the presentation, Loraine demonstrates how the device works in conjunction with HoloStudio, a holographic three dimensional graphics program. She designs a one off quad-copter with the program that was then constructed via 3D printer. The practical implementation of the technology is astounding, but take a look at the video below for some of the more imaginative applications the device might have in the near future.
We see how it can used as a productivity tool as well as a tool for entertainment. Industrial designers and gamers will be able to superimpose their chosen content and manipulate it without anything more than their hands and voice. Donald Bell senior editor at CNET has some pretty amusing if not also truthful uses for the Augmented (or Mixed) Reality device. Check it out below.
Many companies have attempted and guaranteed this type of technology, but never really delivered until the Occulus Rift, which is still technically Virtual Reality that immerses the user in a different reality altogether. This new offering from Microsoft could completely redefine the way we create, the way we consume media and even the way that we live our daily lives. Think of med students being able to explore a virtual body, but with real tools. Or a physician having real time feedback, during an operation, from a specialist if he comes up against complications outside his field of expertise.
The potential is overwhelmingly exciting, but will we actually have it? Let me know how you feel about the HoloLens in the comment section below.