We are moving in to the world of the future. Virtual and Augmented Reality is becoming a common household name, and headsets like the Oculus Rift are dropping in price and soon will be available for common consumers to buy. So of course a big programming giant like Microsoft would get in on this new wave of technology, and their new product that takes advantage of it will be called Windows Holographic.
Windows Holographic is a new suite of programs and hardware that aims to blend your physical life with your digital one. It features a new headset called the Microsoft HoloLens, which Microsoft calls the “most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen.” This wireless headset projects see through holographic images in front of you, and spatial sound allowing you to hear noise in 360 degrees. It has sensors that can capture information on your environment, so it will be able to tell whether or not you are interacting with one of the images, or even where the image is being projected. It also has a built in GPU and CPU, making it an actual standalone computer and not just a peripheral for your desktop.
In fact, the HoloLens features a third processor, the HPU or Holographic Processing Unit. The HPU’s sole purpose it to understand where you are looking, what you are looking at, what you are doing with your hands and head, what you are saying, and more. It basically is an entire processing unit devoted just to the interface.
“We invented a third processor. A holographic processing unit,” Microsoft said. “The HPU gives us the ability to understand where you’re looking, to understand your gestures, to understand your voice, to spatially map your environment, to run without wires … all in real-time.”
Microsoft has made it clear that they are not trying to compete with other VR headsets. They happily invited companies like Oculus to utilize their headset and integrate it with their VR software. Currently it is unclear whether or not the headset will be able to integrate with the Xbox One. In fact, it’s unclear whether or not it will integrate with anything or whether or not it will simply standalone as an independent unit.
In a concept video, Microsoft detailed ways that the new HoloLens could be used. Since the computer could tell what it is projecting on and where it is in space, it could do things like turn a blank wall into a TV. It could project the contents of your fridge onto the fridge door. It can tell you the weather as you look outside a window or give you traffic reports as you look at your car. Things only got crazier from there. For example, it allowed someone to receive detailed information on how to fix a busted pipe while they did it. It allowed someone to turn their entire apartment into a Minecraft play space. It allowed someone to physically walk on Mars through a virtual projection of a Mars rover.
What do you think? Would you purchase a Microsoft HoloLens? Would you wear it all day, every day, to be fully integrated with your digital life? Let us know in the comments.