At E3 this year we are going to try the new Microsoft HoloLens. Unlike the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, this headset is designed for AR, or augmented reality, in addition to VR. Augmented reality is when virtual objects are laid over the real world, and the HoloLens is looking to not only become a force for gaming by using it, but also change the way we live our lives.
With a sufficiently advanced augmented reality headset, you can essentially replace every visual object that exists in your house. What do I mean by visual object?
Well, what are you looking at right now? A computer screen? All that is is light hitting your eyes. The right photons hit your eyes in such a way that you see the light reflecting off your screen and transmitting the information to you. But there is nothing that says that light has to come from a computer screen.
Now imagine the Microsoft Hololens, a visor in front of your eyes. You are still sitting at your desk with the same mouse and same keyboard, but no monitors. Instead, what you are reading shows up on the visor. For all intents and purposes it can look exactly like a monitor, even though it’s just a virtual monitor on the Hololens. Essentially, the HoloLens makes it appear as if a monitor is there.
If you have strong enough graphics processing software and hardware, the HoloLens can show you basically whatever you want to see. You can have two, three, four monitors, or more. As long as your graphics devices can keep up with the load, you can be shown basically anything.
But monitors aren’t the only visual objects in your life. What about posters? Well the Hololens could take any image from the internet and turn it into a virtual poster for you. What about TV? Ditch that big screen and just look at a virtual space on your wall. Heck, going into the future, 20 to 50 years from now our graphics software might be powerful enough to render out your whole living area in virtual space. You could have simple grey and white furniture and it can look however you want with virtual overlays. Your schedules can be in virtual space instead of using whiteboards. Even your windows can be simulated.
Wow, it’s starting to sound like something out of the bleak cyberpunk future, isn’t it?
Of course, this is all a long way into the future. The point here is the HoloLens is the proof of concept. Things can change a lot in 30-40 years. Look at the difference between Super Mario Bros. and the video games of today.
So maybe in the next forty years, the HoloLens will be making us live augmented reality lives. What do you think? Is Augmented Reality the next big advancement? Let us know in the comments.