Microsoft HoloLens 2: A first dive into the future of AR
Augmented Reality feels like the future.
But headsets that use it that everyday people are wearing haven't fully arrived.
Microsoft's Hololens 2 is pushing the field forward in a couple of key ways, but it's intended for enterprise use.
So here at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond where we're getting a chance to use this and walk through it for the first time.
The headset's design has been reconfigured this time.
It's meant to slide over the head like a baseball cap.
It's comfier, and the center of balance isn't so front-heavy.
And now the visor flips up, like Microsoft's VR headsets.
Hololens 2, unlike the Magicleap 1, another AR headset that creates 3D graphics that seem to blend with the real world, works with glasses on I can flip it down over my thick glasses, no problem.
The field of view is bigger so now I'm basically getting something like that which is a lot better than it was before and for most things on a desk, I'm able to see things without it being cut off.
The thing about AR headsets versus VR, is there is a point where the field of view cuts off making holograms suddenly seem like you're viewing them through a narrow window.
The Hololens 2 expands its field of view to 52 degrees, versus the first Hololens 30 degrees.
It may not sound dramatic, but it means instead of seeing things through a deck of card shape window, it's more like a big paperback book.
Now there are a couple of demos that we saw here at Microsoft campus.
One was of the interface here in a livingroom environment, which I call the shell demo.
I'm gonna go over here and there's a hologram floating on the desk, that's showing a short line power wind if i bring my hand out Like this.
I see the box.
If I grab with both hands and pull, it expands and then it goes back down.
And over here by the way are some other hologram things.
This one's an engine with a spinning part that's over here.
This is a windmill.
But again, Picking them up and placing them down and being able to drag and position them.
So now, it's just sitting on the desk.
There's also a demo using a new app called Guides that is guiding you through how to do things and how to build things.
[UNKNOWN] also has eye tracking, which can not only work through my glasses seamlessly let me glance at objects and control them with my voice.
But Microsoft says the in headset cameras could sense a motion too.
Eye tracking means being able to track your interest and attention and make interfaces more fluid.
Enterprise interests include using it to study engagement and focus, but it also starts to feel like mind reading.
There still arent physical controls with the hololense 2 but the sensor cameras can now detect more hand movements.
The gestures make it seem more like you're pushing buttons or pulling corners of objects minus the physical
Microsoft designing HoloLens 2 to become more collaborative to use this with multiple people in a space using Microsoft's Azure Cloud services and to connect to IoS and Android because hey, you already got phones That have AR.
And the idea is to build an ecosystem so that people can start viewing the same stuff together.
That type of collaborative AR started to emerge last year with Google and Apple on phones.
But Microsoft's aiming to take it to a much more accurate direction that will be used for Enterprise for much more mission-critical uses.
But what about the future beyond HoloLens 2?
Ultimately, the goal is these things transform humans They've empowered people, and organisations to do things they just plainly they are not about to do before, they allow us to displace space and time on a daily basis as if we were instinctually with those super powers,
Microsoft is targetting how lense 2 for enterprise use, this isn't for home users.
And this is very clearly targeted for factories or fieldwork or ways that people could really use this in a helpful way in work environments in areas where they can't use a computer or something else.
Will we start seeing this in consumer devices?
Will we see it in other types of immersive experiences?
But what's interesting here is how Microsoft is working to make hand gestures, expand the field of view, and to get ways that AR can start feeling more comfortable over longer periods of time.
That's something that future aerotech, no matter where it is, is gonna need to take advantage of.