Microsoft’s HoloLens headset has seen some increased development and usage in educational and industrial engineering industries as companies look to augment the amount of training and resources dedicated to projects and research.
However, HoloLens has found itself filling a new niche that is a bit more strategic in nature. According to Bloomberg Technology,
The Israeli army’s C2 Systems Department recently purchased two HoloLens glasses from Microsoft Corp. The commander of the head programming department, Major Rotem Bashi, intends to develop the technology to improve battlefield strategy and train field personnel. And quickly: He means for HoloLens to be used on active duty within months.”
Using the pair of $3,000 developer edition HoloLens headsets, Bashi, and a dedicated team are creating software programs intended to simulate military terrain models while enabling field commanders to manipulate military intelligence data to best outfit their troops based on enemy vantage points.
More specifically, real-time battlefield maps become superimposed on terrain streamed from satellite imaging directly to the headset wearer, producing a mesh blend of first-person-shooter-like heads up display information.
The information being displayed through the HoloLens headset can then be navigated, manipulated or recalculated using a series of visual, auditory or gesture based commands, making the entire experience a bit more organic than previous military surveillance efforts.
Bashi’s development group is also experimenting with ways the HoloLens could be used for medics to operate on wounded with simulated instructions. The simulation, similar to the original HoloLens demos that included Skype-assisted tutorials on how to fix broken plumbing pipes, Bashi’s medic simulation would be assisted by trained surgeons who would be giving field medics step by step instructions on aid.
Bashi’s ambitions with HoloLens also include using a similarly augmented tutorial for fixing military equipment or in-field malfunctions, thus negating the risk of sending valuable mechanics or medical personnel into combat while reaping similar if not better lifesaving benefits with the headset.
As Bashi’s ideas and concepts for HoloLens continue to spiral outwards, he’s aided by the reduction in development time it takes to create experiences for Microsoft’s HoloLens.
Developing applications for HoloLens in under a month is a far cry from the former 24-month gestation period allowed to develop a new application or adapt a technology for military use. Bashi had observed that their lengthy traditional development cycles could mean the technology soldiers were working from would be almost obsolete by the time it was ready for deployment. Now, instead of finished software, they put into use what they call a “minimal viable product” that’s upgraded and improved along the way.”
As the HoloLens continues its developer-focused tour, its people, companies, governments and militaries such as the Israeli army that are pushing Microsoft and its headset to its limits. While the idea of using the HoloLens for gaming or entertainment have been at the forefront of its public appeal, it seems education, commercial engineering, government aid and military strategies are where the headset is finding developer appeal.Further reading: HoloLens, Microsoft, Military, Skype