The HoloLens was Microsoft’s rabbit in the hat. No one saw it coming, and most everyone was blown away by it. Unlike the Oculus Rift, HoloLens isn’t designed to take you to a virtual world where one could battle orcs and dragons. No, it’s designed to bring those orcs and dragons to your world, your house, and your living room.
We got to see a glimpse of HoloLens in action during the Windows 10 event in January, but just like any exciting product, especially one of this magnitude, we still had questions. Now Microsoft has updated the official HoloLens website with a frequently asked questions section to answer some of them.
Microsoft describes what a hologram is, why anyone would want holograms in the real world (because they’re cool, duh!), how HoloLens works, and why Windows 10 matters when it comes to holograms, among other explanations.
“Holograms can be two-dimensional, like a piece of paper or a TV screen, or they can be three-dimensional, just like other physical objects in your real world. The holograms you’ll see with Microsoft HoloLens can appear life-like, and can move, be shaped, and change according to interaction with users or the physical environment in which they are visible.”
In regards to Windows 10, Microsoft claims that its upcoming operating system is the first to support holographic computing thanks to API’s to enable gaze, gesture, voice, and environmental understanding/context awareness on an untethered device. Microsoft also claims that holograms will be universal apps, and that all universal apps can work as holograms.
“With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps, and all Windows universal apps work as holograms. Holograms in Windows 10 will lead to entirely new ways for us to communicate, create, and explore.”
Microsoft also goes on to describe how the HoloLens hardware works to generate multidimensional images, and allowing you to pin holograms in your physical environment. Its new Holographic Processing Unit will do all the heavy lifting to make that possible.
“Microsoft HoloLens features see-through, holographic, high-definition lenses and spatial sound so you can see and hear holograms in the world around you. Complete with advanced sensors and a new Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that understands the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens is able to run without any wires while processing terabytes of data from the sensors in real-time.”
As the company mentioned during the Windows 10 event, HoloLens will operate a standalone computing device powered by Windows 10. It will be completely untethered, as it will work without wires, phones, or a connection to a PC. Microsoft will talk more about HoloLens and what it takes to develop for it during Build 2015 next week.
Just like the Kinect sensor before it, HoloLens appears to have endless possibilities. I may finally be able to fulfill my dream of owning a pet Cheetah, and you may finally be able to manipulate virtual objects around with hand gestures, because with HoloLens, the Force is with you.