You know how Google hosts the I/O developers conference every year? Well, Microsoft has something similar called Build and this year at the event you can expect to hear plenty of interesting news concerning the HoloLens. But before such a time comes I’m sure some of you may be wondering about this new product and its capabilities. Fortunately, if you have HoloLens questions you don’t have to scour the entire internet for answers because Microsoft recently updated their website and finally added an FAQ section. Needless to say, an FAQ is a must-have for every product so it’s nice (not to mention helpful) to see one for the HoloLens as well.
So what exactly is this device? According to Microsoft, the HoloLens is “the first holographic computer running Windows 10. It is completely untethered–no wires, phones, or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows you to pin holograms in your physical environment and provides a new way to see your world.” In a way, this device is the opposite of virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus because instead of immersing yourself into a virtual world you’re interacting with virtual objects in the real world. These objects are better known as holograms and Microsoft gives us a bit of very useful insight when it comes to them.
“A hologram is an object like any other object in the real world, with only one difference: instead of being made of physical matter, a hologram is made entirely of light, reads the FAQ. “Holographic objects can be viewed from different angles and distances, just like physical objects, but they do not offer any physical resistance when touched or pushed because they don’t have any mass. Holograms can be two-dimensional, like a piece of paper or a TV screen, or they can be three-dimensional, just like other physical objects in your real world. The holograms you’ll see with Microsoft HoloLens can appear life-like, and can move, be shaped, and change according to interaction with users or the physical environment in which they are visible.”
Although this may seem like just another virtual reality or augmented reality device, the company says that HoloLens is something completely new and different from anything else currently found on the market. There’s a rather lengthy explanation as for why this is, but the short answer is that HoloLens doesn’t want to remove you from reality and place you into some sort of fantasy world. Rather, here you will get a mixed experienced that includes both the real world – with which you can continue to interact – and another layer of reality complete with realistic holograms. Now, you’ll still need to wear a headset if you want to experience all of this, but you can just go on about your business without having to worry about bumping into things. This technology is indeed quite different than virtual reality where although the experience is much more immersive, you’re basically cut off from the real world and usually have to remain seated, or at least in one place.
All that aside, the greatest thing about HoloLens is probably the fact that it’s going to be compatible with Windows 10. As you may or may not know, the upcoming operating system will be available as a free upgrade to all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. And when I say “all” I really do mean that literally because Windows 10 will be available for free even to pirates. This unprecedented move by Microsoft will undoubtedly turn the OS into the most popular version to date and now that it’s also going to feature holograms you can pretty much expect people to go bananas once it releases. Admittedly, you’ll also need the HoloLens headset for the complete package, which doesn’t have a release date or price just yet. Still, this device definitely sounds promising, or at least more promising than some of Microsoft’s other super hyped technologies (*cough* Kinect). If you want to stay up to date with all the latest HoloLens news just visit this link and sign up for the newsletter.