Surprisingly, the most exciting announcement at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event was not the new operating system iteself, it was the update that the company will soon be introducing its next big innovation, the augmented reality experience called “Windows Holographic”.
The device, which is called Windows Hololens, looks like another typical pair of VR goggles that are fast rising in popularity but Microsoft promises that its version will provide a far more mind-blowing experience. The HoloLens headset is described by the company as “the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen.” Incorporating a CPU, a GPU and a dedicated holographic processor, the HoloLens also integrates motion and environmental sensors to give users an immersive feel.
Microsoft has been working on Hololens for more than 7 years
According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the HoloLens will be made available within the Windows 10 timeframe and priced so that it appeals to both consumers and businesses. At least one games publisher is also reportedly on board, with Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick describing the experience as “extraordinary.”
A promotional video showed by Microsoft at the event indicated a highly ambitious vision of virtual reality computing and entertainment. A man wearing the HoloLens was shown playing a 3D version of Minecraft, while a woman was shown wearing the device whilst walking through an office, talking to a colleague on an image floating in front of her.
Hololens could be launched alongside Windows 10 later this year
“It will understand your gestures and voice,” promises Alex Kipman of Microsoft, “and spatially map the entire world around us.” The HoloLens will not require any cables, external cameras, or tethered PCs to help process the data that it needs to provide the augmented reality solution. Furthermore, users will also be able to make their own holograms through HoloStudio.
Whilst augmented reality headsets have been getting significant media attention, with the Facebook-acquired Oculus Rift at the front of the queue, until now there has been no definitive timelines for a consumer launch. Microsoft has reportedly collaborated with NASA to develop the HoloLens, which makes for some truly frightening potential. One thing is for sure, we can’t wait to get our hands on it.