In 2015, Microsoft Technical Fellow, Alex Kipman was thrust into the tech industry limelight as the father of the companies next-generation computing platform. A relatively unknown Kipman took the stage at Microsoft’s developer conference three years ago and dazzled the imaginations of so many in the industry lusting for a break from an increasing indifference towards the smartphone as a computing device with a new sleek head mounted PC.
Kipman’s brainchild, the HoloLens, was met with part enthusiasm and part cautious optimism by both developers and industry observers. Thanks to Kipman and a group of talented engineers buried deep in the bowels of Microsoft, the company has seemingly taken the world of Augmented Reality by hand and ushered it toward an increasingly accepting audience an audience ready to put a wireless visor on their heads to bring the digital to life.
For that, Kipman is rightly being honored as a European Inventor Award finalist, furthermore, you can help Kipman win by participating in the voting process.
What Kipman and his team did in 2015 was short of a technical marvel as the HoloLens helped usher in a new wave of head-mounted, wireless PCs that could place digital objects that sat alongside, on top or right though real-world objects. Unlike the Google Glass demo video, HoloLens was able to create and maintain a much more substantial augmented reality experience that includes voice activation, eye tracking, and hand gestures to operate objects, windowed programs, and video.
The science behind packaging that much compute power into an oversized pair of shades with connected visor headrest, is still mind-boggling and amazing three years later and with the market teeming with newer and sleeker reference designs on the horizon.
As mentioned earlier, Kipman’s HoloLens debuted roughly three years ago and there has been no major overhaul of the product since. In tech years, 3 years is essentially legacy talk. Many are waiting for Microsoft’s follow device to the HoloLens, which promises to bring Machine Learning and dedicated AI processors to the headset and an increased field of view for users.
To Microsoft’s credit, not drastically changing HoloLens has led to businesses and developers adopting the lofty $2,000 to the tune of 50,000 out in the wild. Sure, the number pales in comparison to quarterly iPhone sales, but a 50,000 dollar buy in should have many developers wetting their chops to be part of the platform.
Kipman will have his work cut out for him later this year and into next as the AR market is poised to be highly congested by 2020 with Apple potentially dipping its toes into AR a bit more, Google pushing its AR platform and competitors such as Magic Leap hoarding cash to build an even more “impressive” version of HoloLens.Further reading: Alex Kipman, Augmented Reality, HoloLens, Microsoft