01/11/2017

Microsoft HoloLens

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01.11.2017, by Joey Relouw

For the past 6 months, Cradle has been doing research with the Microsoft HoloLens. We have created a couple of applications for it and found out more about its pros and cons. Since there are still a lot of questions about the HoloLens, here’s a short overview:

The HoloLens belongs to the augmented reality (AR) category, sometimes known as mixed reality or holographic computing. This means that the HoloLens mixes a live view of your real surroundings along with virtual objects, characters and animations that are layered on top of your real-world view. The device scans your surroundings and creates a 3D-image from it. This data can apply your 3D objects to the right locations (for example: a character sitting on your couch, a bird flying against your window, etc.). 

The First HoloLens

The first version of the HoloLens has a few flaws that most people notice right away. The field of view is small compared to the VR hardware out there. Another challenge to overcome is the first experience. When putting on the headset the user needs to learn and remember the various gestures. This can be challenging when passing it around in a group. And, of course, typing, which is horrible on any VR/AR device. Having a floating keyboard which makes you select the keys one by one quickly annoys the user.

This brings us to the cool side of the HoloLens. The speech recognition works great. When the user gets comfortable talking to a device, it becomes one of the fastest ways to navigate through the different menus. Another great feature is the spatial awareness, as it is fast and remembers different areas it has been. If you boot the HoloLens at home, you will see your games and social media accounts, but if you are at work you will only see your office tools. And the best of all, it is very straightforward for developing. It is not tethered to anything, but it is still light to wear on your head. You do not realize you are wearing a computer when using it.

 

HoloLens 2.0

The next generation of the HoloLens will have a custom AI chip. It analyzes visual data directly on the device, so it does not need to be uploaded to Microsoft’s cloud. The result will give a quicker performance without the need of internet, which is more secure; the data never leaves the device. This is great news for developers and users alike.

 

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