from the more-likely-than-flying-cars dept.
A story from CNet has previews of Microsoft's Hololens - an augmented reality product::
REDMOND, Wash. -- In the bowels of Building 92, hidden underneath the company's public visitor center in a secret series of labs, Microsoft let a few people try out what may be the most ambitious Windows device ever made: a holographic headset that aims to rival the most advanced virtual reality devices out there.
Microsoft's HoloLens is expected to run Windows 10 and apps -- holographic ones that will float in front of your line of vision and apps that can be run on phones, tablets, PCs and the Xbox One game console. With the holographic programs, Microsoft is trying to transform how we think about computing, productivity and communication. Just as VR rivals Oculus (owned by Facebook) and Google are trying to reimagine virtual experiences with their head-worn devices, Microsoft wants us to imagine a world without screens, where information merely floats in front of you.
"We're not talking about putting you into virtual worlds," HoloLens leader Alex Kipman said Wednesday during an event at Microsoft's headquarters here. "We're dreaming beyond virtual worlds, beyond screens, beyond pixels."
One of the more interesting parts of the Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality initiative is the way Microsoft is listening to the public to direct some of its early-stage app development for the platform, through the Share Your Idea website launched earlier this month.
One of the top three ideas on the site, based on votes, is called Cortana in Person. Cortana, of course, is Microsoft's personal digital assistant that plays a starring role in Windows 10. She's a Siri competitor that, as gamers will know, was derived from the Cortana artificial intelligence character in the Halo series of games.
"Hologram of Cortana from Halo who you can talk to and interact with," forum user LookItsKris wrote in his description of the idea for Cortana in Person. "Works in the same way as Cortana on desktop/phone. Get answers to questions etc. Maybe ask a question on HoloLens and answers come through on phone? Possibilities are endless."
"Dude, that would be so awesome. A real-life Cortana," commenter H4rmonicAn4rchy wrote. "Who wouldn't want that?!"
Because Microsoft will actually build the top three ideas from the site, there is a chance that Microsoft will bring the idea to life for HoloLens, whose $3,000 development kits will be shipping in the first quarter of 2016.
Microsoft today revealed HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The headset features a laser-scanning display which brings a field of view that's more than 2x the original HoloLens and 47 pixels per degree.
HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman took to the stage in Barcelona to introduce HoloLens 2 which addresses many of the key criticisms of the original headset: field of view, comfort, and hand-tracking.
Kipman says that HoloLens 2 "more than doubles" the field of view of the original HoloLens, though hasn't yet specified exactly what the field of view is. The original HoloLens field of view was around 35 degrees, so HoloLens 2 is expected to be around 70 degrees.
[...] HoloLens 2 is also designed to be more comfortable, with much of the headset's bulk balanced in the back of the headset. Kipman said HoloLens 2 "more than triples the comfort" over the original HoloLens... though the exact weight, and how they came to that specific figure, is unclear. Still, the front portion of the headset is said to be made entirely from carbon fiber to cut down on weight and offers a convenient flip-up visor.
HoloLens 2 also brings hand-tracking which goes much further than the coarse gesture control in the original headset. Now with full hand-tracking, users can interact much more directly with applications by touching, poking, and sliding controls directly rather than using abstract gestures.
Also at Engadget.
Previously: HoloLens - Microsoft's Augmented Reality Product
Microsoft Giving $500,000 to Academia to Develop HoloLens Apps
Microsoft Announces Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and HoloLens Dev Edition
Microsoft HoloLens and its 24-Core Chip
HoloLens 2 to Include Machine Learning Accelerated Hardware
Ford Using Microsoft HoloLens to Help Design Cars
Leaked Microsoft Documents Describe Plans for Surface Tablets, Xbox, "Andromeda", and HoloLens
HoloLens to Assist Surgeons at UK's Alder Hey Children's Hospital
U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract