Microsoft Hololens – Features | Price | Review | Specs | Design

It seems that Microsoft wanted to bridge the gap between the current tech of its Windows 10 and Microsoft’s another product, HaloMicrosoft has been known to produce either the greatest products of our time as well as the most despicable ones. While Windows XP stands as a testimony to the “greatest products” category, it should not surprise you when you haven’t even heard the name Microsoft Zune before. Yup, the testimony to the “worst produces from Microsoft”. Well good news here, the Microsoft Hololens is definitely not the Zune. Its already as cool as the Surface Pro 3, but would it make an XP in due course is the billion dollar question.

So, Hololens. Microsoft’s idea of transforming the world using Holograms. No, not like the ones that everyone can see in Disneyland. This is more like implementing holographic Augmented Reality into a setup that is more like an over sized coolers. Alright, “The devil is in the details” right? here we go.


Microsoft Hololens first impression: The best one?

You get this product finally in your hands. The first thing you would think is how would you see this huge gear around your head that resembles a gadget that’s straight out of Star Trek.


Hololens – Possibly the next swag.

The Microsoft Hololens does not isolate you from the surroundings. Just augments certain visual elements to enable you visualize the reality better. Yeah, welcome to the new Augmented Reality. The Hololens comes with a sensor array over your eyes, that track the position of your head’s movements and a Holographic Processing Unit, a CPU, and a battery pack all embedded into the headgear. The current developer version has the HPU as a separate unit that hangs around neck and the Hololens is powered through cables that are attached from the ceiling. All of this will of course vanish in the consumer version. All said, if you had the money and had the Hololens before you, I’d say you’d buy it.


The Electronic Wizardry:

The wizardry begins when you strap on the glasses to your head. The distance between your pupils is measured in an instant and the sensors come to life, crunching numbers by the megabytes per second. The cameras fitted in the front can be used both as sensors and as well as video recording devices. These sense the gaze and gesture commands. The microphone is also inbuilt for the voice commands feature. It also has two teeny tiny speakers that can be programmed to use Windows 10’s Spatial Sound technology.  This has been used to provide an very detailed immersive sound experience. This is especially essential for the whole augmented experience. Imagine you draw a jet plane with your hand gestures in using the Holo. You could assign a sound clip to it for the total realistic experience. This is where the Spatial sound tech kicks in. The farther you move from the Augmented jet plane, the lesser you hear its engine blazing. The word is “uncanny”.

But the real game is the Holographic Augmented Reality. The Holo uses three layered lens to twist and bend light to make the Holographic world superimpose yours. The advantage over VR? No nausea, no headaches. So buh-bye Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The ingenious Holography is brought to life by a dedicated Holographic Processor Unit or HPU, as Microsoft calls it. The separate HPU and CPU means that the rendering is not disturbed with additional processor load to the CPU. The chipset and the architecture information has been although, withheld by Microsoft.

Hololens in action.

Bringing Augmented Reality into reality with the Hololens.

So what can you do with the Microsoft Hololens?

For one, you can change the interiors of your boring office look like New Zealand or even the Martian surface. The tech used in the latter marvel is developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in collaboration with Microsoft for the exploration of martian surface with the images sent from the Rover there.They call this the OnSite. This is perhaps the most mind-blowing thing that the Hololens can deliver. You might even see the Rover standing behind you if you turn your head.

This tech, though in any way doesn’t mess with the reality. You can still see the martian surface, where there is no object detected, say, like a coworker or a computer, because the Holo detects edges and this enables you to work with the glasses without having to take it off every time you walk. In case you are a game or an app developer, the Hololens is all but good news to you. It is the world’s first untethered holographic computer that is based upon Windows 10. The universal app platform means that an armada of apps that can work for Hololens is already on the way. In fact, you could be helping Microsoft.

Few apps that are already there are the Holo Studio’s 3D builder tool lets you create your own 3D objects and augment them over real objects and even people. As of now, the Hololens lets you view and interact with 3D objects via voice control, gesture and gaze control. Skype comes with a holographic avatar too. This enables live real time help from mechanics or technicians to instruct the consumers to fix everyday problems that can be user-solved.

Whats better yet, if you are using an app with Hololens, you can say “Follow Me” to get the application to follow you around. You can also resize and scale any of the content windows to fill your wall or any space you choose with Hololens.


Skyping with the Hololens

Skyping- The Holo way.

Can you buy Microsoft Hololens?

The Microsoft Hololens’ official release date for the consumer or the enterprise version hasn’t been announced yet, but a tech like this isn’t ever gonna come cheap for now. The expected MSRP is around $3000 (Thats about INR 2 lakhs). Consider it an early bird rate for jumping first into making apps follow you and poking a virtual sheep to fall off a table, among the innumerable possibilities. Check out this video out to visualize what Hololens delivers.
Below is the Microsoft Hololens hands on demo video which addresses about it’s features.

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