Unlike virtual reality equipment such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Gear VR, Microsoft have developed a new head piece which is classed under ‘Mixed Reality’. The way this differs from VR headsets that are currently available is that the world you live in becomes mixed with the virtual world. This means that elements of a virtual space now co-exist with the space around you. The headset is a pair of glasses that overlaps holograms on the spaces around you. However unlike traditional static holograms most people are familiar with, these holograms can move with you.
How does it work?
The headset utilises many sensors to find and map your surrounding area – it can distinguish between walls and floors, doors and sofas. You are essentially wearing a computer on your head which is constantly calculating properties of objects around you, and you do not need a computer to control the headset as it is its own independent device.
Once the room has been mapped out for the HoloLens, it can now begin to create holograms around you. It does this by projecting an image to screen layer of the HoloLens and with a few optical tricks, the viewer can see the hologram very clearly. You can only see the holograms with about 60% of your vision. However providing you are looking directly at the hologram, it is extremely deceptive.
What are the use cases for this device?
The sky is the limit when it comes to the usefulness and practicality of this device. Mixed reality is still in its infant stage, yet Microsoft have already demonstrated some of the great use cases for this type of device. This ranges from medical care to even gaming. One of their demos showcased a Minecraft world being built in 3D on a generic table, live on stage. They then proceeded to show that you could interact with this hologram, making characters move, and even edit the world. Although they showed this through a game demo, many architects would have noticed the possibility of this technology. This would allow for real world buildings to be built in the desired location before even purchasing land or even buying any materials.
Another demo showed a full-scale MRI scan being displayed to a potential patient while sitting with their doctor, allowing the doctor to perfectly describe the problem with the patient. He could peel away at the layers within the MRI and actively show exactly what is going wrong and where the problem is. This was also linked to the beating heart demo where a lecturer was showing students the anatomy of the chest and heart.
It doesn’t end there. There are honestly thousands upon thousands of use cases for this. While the technology hasn’t seen as much light as VR headsets right now, it is the future. The technology needs refining (such as making the vision of the lenses near 100%) and more developers to develop programs to fully utilise this kit, as currently there are very few applications for this equipment.
Why will it be the next big thing?
As you can tell we are huge fans of the device and you can hire the hololens from us here and experience it for yourself. We are confident that mixed reality will almost certainly surpass virtual reality within the near future, however I’m not saying VR is going to be obsolete, as there are use cases for that too. The reason why Mixed Reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens will do so well is because it will be easy to integrate with real life. It will not be long before all glasses will be able to have this technology attached to them. Or rather, until the headset is comfy enough to wear at least 6 to 8 hours a day, to the point where you could quite happily take it to work. It then wouldn’t be long before you begin to find that it’s extremely useful for doing a lot of tasks such as reminders, reading, watching films while moving around the house and so on. It will revolutionise the way you live such like how mobile phones have.
What is the future for Mixed Reality and the HoloLens?
The HoloLens is merely the first step in the right direction. It will take many iterations for this product to get it right for the consumers – not to mention its current price tag. That’s beside the point. This technology will climb down in price, and it will get better, that is inevitable.
It is quite hard to source a HoloLens in the UK and due to their extremely high price it would be wise to get a UK HoloLens Hire within the UK.
Microsoft are not the only developers for this platform either, currently Occipital are also developing their own headset and there are undoubtedly more secret projects under the works which haven’t been announced to the public yet. It’s just a matter of time.
The Microsoft HoloLens is the step in the right direction while being quite different from virtual reality headsets that are currently available. The winning advantage of the HoloLens is that it is portable and has a lot of use cases that are both practical and unique which VR headsets cannot provide. Also, due to their high price point and still being a development kit, it would be wise to get a HoloLens on Hire, as this type of hardware will go under heavy revisions while still being developed.