Live like Iron Man, minus the shrapnel
The Hololens is Microsoft’s foray into wearable Augmented Reality and it’s poised to change everyday technology use across the board. Augmented or mixed reality is technology that overlays virtual elements onto real world visuals for an immersive yet realistic experience.
The Hololens looks like across between the VR goggles we are used to seeing and sunglasses that might have been worn in an 80’s Sci-fi movie. Its blended realty technology means you can still interact with people and have conversations while also checking your email in the air, which from your perspective will look like you are basically Tony Stark, but will just look like a simple gesture to someone else.
On your face not in your face
The items you see while wearing the Hololens have a fixed, though obviously virtual, location. This means you can walk around them or even walk away from them and then come back to them later.
They also appear only when you look right at them—you won’t see any of the icons out of the corner of your eye. Some reports say this can interfere with the experience, but it also might make it easier to work in both the real and virtual worlds. Imagine if your text notifications popped up constantly in front of your face instead of on your desk where your phone sits. No thank you.
Real collaboration, augmented reality
Microsoft seems to be aiming at B2B and educational applications with the Hololens. Real time collaboration is an obvious application of the technology. One video shows a demo developed by Case Western Reserve University to teach anatomy. A virtual body is shown to students offering views from the surface, through the internal organs, and down to the skeleton and back again. Another demo from Volvo shows employees walking around a design simulation and discussing the various features.
Hello, Holo. Let’s keep it simple.
One of the things the Hololens excels at is voice commands, which are simple and effective and make controlling the device much more intuitive. With limited phrases to control it, the problems of picking up too many words from the wearer, something Google Glass had a problem with, is avoided.
Although there are interesting applications, such as hanging virtual objects on your wall, it seems that the real success will depend on the applications. AR technology is here, what will we do with it?