Article 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 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 category, known sometimes 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.
Using this data is can apply your 3D objects on the right locations (for example: a character sitting on your couch, a bird flying against your window etc.)
The first version of the HoloLens has a few flaws 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, the 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.
Which 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 way to navigate through the different menu’s. Another great feature is the spatial awareness. 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 straight forward 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.
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.