We received a HoloLens development kit in The MKX® Labs. According to Microsoft, this is what it is:
Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high‑definition holograms in your world.
While this is somewhat hyperbolic (I don’t this these are holograms, it’s just really good augmented reality), I was very impressed. These are my impressions.
The hardware is slick. Unlike the Oculus Rift – which I know is VR thus a different beast – this toy is completely self contained. In the glasses themselves there’s a battery powered computer. No wires running to a big desktop computer. It’s not too heavy nor uncomfortable, at least for the time I wore it.
It comes with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics of how to use it. You don’t put headphones on but there are little speakers so you can hear audio coming from it.
Whatever objects are placed in your view, they interact with your surroundings very well. For example, there’s a (fake) tool box which you can place on a (real) desk where you are. And it truly looks as if it is resting on the desk, even if you move around. It does this by using a depth perception camera. This of it as a Kinect on your face, mapping your surroundings. It even has a really cool special effect where it projects a (fake) wireframe around (real) things as it maps them. The graphics that the HoloLens shows look very nice, although they are always translucent objects. It can do objects or things like floating web browser windows or video players.
The nicest demo tried was Project X, in which you see a (fake) hole on the (real) wall and (fake) alien critters start coming out of it and shooting at you. You can dodge the shots and shoot them back. It’s plain cool.
It’s not perfect, by far its biggest flaw is that the field of vision where HoloLens can project things is very, very reduced. If the only thing they improve going forward is this, that’s enough to make this really mind-blowing.
*That’s an approximation of reality. But still, I got to try it out.