If you’re thinking we needed more virtual world on top of our reality, Microsoft is here to help. On Wednesday at PAX Prime the company presented new details about its visor-style headset called Hololens. According to the presentation, the device can generate holograms which appear to blend on objects from the real world.
The device has incorporated depth sensors, which make the virtual objects accessible to the wearer, and also headphones which very skillfully give the impression of sound coming from interacting with the virtual. The demonstration showed how elements from the recently-purchased Minecraft game can been seen as sitting on various objects in the room and how game characters respond to hand gestures. It also included a how-to of building 3D objects using virtual tools and various voice commands.
One of the technical agents from Microsoft, Alex Kipman, explained that Hololens works on bringing holograms into your world, rather than giving you the impression of putting you in another virtual world. Holograms are designed to react exactly like real, physical objects.
Although we weren’t given a thorough walkthrough of the new technology, Kipman let on that it is more complicated than 3D strategies of tricking the brain, or even than other virtual reality devices, such as the one produced by Oculus Rift. Rather than showing different images for each eye, thus tricking us into seeing in-depth, holograms make heavy use of the more complex “light fields”, imitating real objects much more accurately.
Light field technology is not a new concept in this department, but so far, no company succeeded in launching a finished product which integrated it successfully. The main difficulty arose from creating a battery which would power the device long enough. The sensors and the amount of functions with complex routines would certainly use a lot of power, which would reduce drastically the life-span of a recharge.
At the end of the presentation, Kipman suggested that the new headset would be available in the near future as it was previously slated to come just after the release of Windows 10, which means we could get the new toy before this year’s end.
Although the basic functions of the device have already been taken care of, Microsoft has started a few collaborations for developing more exciting experiences and apps for Hololens. Thus, Oculus, Google’s team which developed “Glass” and Magic Leap are all on board for the production phase.
Image Source: Gamespot