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posted by martyb on Monday February 25 2019, @12:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the Hello-lens! dept.

Microsoft Reveals HoloLens 2 with More than 2x Field of View & 47 Pixels per-Degree

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.

See also: HoloLens 2 Specs Reveal 2–3 Hour 'Active' Battery Life, Optional Top Strap, & More
Mozilla is bringing Firefox to Microsoft's HoloLens 2

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

Original Submission

Related Stories

HoloLens - Microsoft's Augmented Reality Product 26 comments

TheLink writes:

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."

Microsoft Giving $500,000 to Academia to Develop HoloLens Apps 8 comments

Microsoft is giving HoloLens prototypes and funding to academic institutions in order to create applications for the augmented reality device:

The so-called Academic Research Request for Proposals will award five universities or institutions with $100,000 each, as well as two HoloLens kits. Although the goal is to see how the device will help research of all types, the company is looking at how it will impact studies in a few specific areas.

In order to be considered for one of the five prizes, applicants (restricted to U.S. residents only) must submit a one- to three-page proposal paper by 11:30pm PDT on September 5, 2015. Information includes an abstract of the proposal as well as a detailed description, the approach to research, use of funds and an overall schedule of the entire project. After submission, the application will be considered using a few criteria such as its overall impact in terms of scholarly papers and presentations, how feasible is the project for completion, and the overall qualifications of the main investigator. Microsoft noted that the $100,000 funding will end after one year, as it is only meant to kickstart projects. Researchers should also look into finding multiple avenues of funding during and after Microsoft's investment.

The academic research is but one of the many paths that Microsoft will pursue to test the use of HoloLens. Last month, it collaborated with NASA for Project Sidekick, which would use two HoloLens devices in the International Space Station to enhance Skype communication with a NASA operator on Earth, as well as a standalone procedure that involves using its augmented reality software on top of real-world items in order to train astronauts while in the station. However, the devices never made it to the International Space Station, as the SpaceX shuttle carrying them exploded early in the flight.

This terrestrial HoloLens giveaway seems a lot safer. Microsoft is looking for industrial/medical/research/educational motivations for using augmented reality, just as Google was with Glass. A recent FCC filing suggests that Google Glass may be quietly resurrected.

Original Submission

Microsoft Announces Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and HoloLens Dev Edition 13 comments

Reported at Anandtech, Microsoft Announces the Surface Pro 4, from $900:

The display retails the 3:2 aspect ratio of the SP3 but boasts a '5 million pixel display', or 2736x1824 in numbers, with PixelSense. Each display is 100% sRGB with individual calibration, but also features 10-point multitouch. [...] Prices will start from $900 and go up to [$2700], with pre-orders starting on October 7th. Devices will be available from October 26th, but Microsoft failed to mention which regions they would be available, so given the price information we could assume it might be a US/NA initial launch at this point with other regions to follow.

Prices may start at $900, but escalate to $2700 for a tablet with an Intel Core i7, extra SSD storage, and 16 GB of RAM. Going from $900 to $1000 swaps the Intel Core m3 for an i5 chip with around triple the TDP.

Alongside Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is launching a Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop. The 13.5" display is detachable, and the keyboard/base houses an NVIDIA GPU (in most configurations) as well as batteries and ports. Surface Book shares the same 3:2 aspect ratio with Surface tablets. Prices range from $1499 to $2699.

Microsoft has announced a HoloLens Developer Edition augmented reality device, which is set to be released in Q1 2016 for $3000:

If developers are still interested in grabbing a HoloLens kit, they can start applying today. Applicants can only request a maximum of two devices, must reside in the United States or Canada, and participate in the Windows Insider program. Even after the applications, you won't find out until you're approved to pre-order HoloLens until January 2016. After that, HoloLens will ship sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

From The Register:

"HoloLens is packed with space age technology," enthused Terry Myerson, Microsoft's windows and devices group veep. "We've got see-through high definition lenses, spatially-aware sound, movement sensors and custom built silicon. And it's fully untethered."

The HoloLens team demoed a new game Microsoft has been working on, dubbed Project X-Ray. The headset maps out a living room and then superimposes robots breaking through walls while the player shoots them with a hologramatic gun wrapped around their hand. As gameplay goes, it was a pretty basic demo, featuring lots of funky graphics but nothing earth-shattering. Yet, with the right developers, Microsoft might well have a winner on its hands.

Original Submission

Microsoft HoloLens and its 24-Core Chip 21 comments

Microsoft has talked about a "holographic processing unit" powering its HoloLens augmented reality device. Now it has released details about the device's processors at the Hot Chips 2016 conference:

Microsoft today revealed a first look at the inside of its Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) chip used in its virtual reality HoloLens specs.

The secretive HPU is a custom-designed TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores. It has about 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM, and a layer of 1GB of low-power DDR3 RAM on top, all in a 12mm-by-12mm BGA package. We understand it can perform a trillion calculations a second. It handles all the environment sensing and other input and output necessary for the virtual-reality goggles. It aggregates data from sensors and processes the wearer's gesture movements, all in hardware so it's faster than the equivalent code running on a general purpose CPU. Each DSP core is given a particular task to focus on.

The unit sits alongside a 14nm Intel Atom x86 Cherry Trail system-on-chip, which has its own 1GB of RAM and runs Windows 10 and apps that take advantage of the immersive noggin-fitted display.

Also at PCWorld.

Original Submission

HoloLens 2 to Include Machine Learning Accelerated Hardware 11 comments

HoloLens 2 can learn!

Microsoft announced that the second generation of the HoloLens' Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) will contain a deep learning accelerator. When Microsoft first unveiled the HoloLens, it said that it comes with a special kind of processor, called an HPU, that can accelerate the kind of "holographic" content displayed by the HMD. The HPU is primarily responsible for processing the information coming from all the on-board sensors, including a custom time-of-flight depth sensor, head-tracking cameras, the inertial measurement unit (IMU), and the infrared camera.

The first generation HPU contained 24 digital signal processors (DSPs), an Atom processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and 8MB of SRAM cache. The chip can achieve one teraflop per second for under 10W of power, with 40% of that power going to the Atom CPU. The first HPU was built on a 28nm planar process, and if the next-generation HPU will be built on a 14/16nm or smaller FinFET process, the increase in performance could be significant. However, Microsoft has not yet revealed what process node will be used for the next-generation HPU.

What we do know so far about the second-gen HPU is that it will incorporate an accelerator for deep neural networks (DNNs). The deep learning accelerator is designed to work offline and use the HoloLens' battery, which means it should be quite efficient, while still providing significant benefits to Microsoft's machine learning code.

Original Submission

Ford Using Microsoft HoloLens to Help Design Cars 6 comments

Ford says it is using Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset to help design cars, alongside clay models:

Microsoft's HoloLens headset has been slowly pivoting towards commercial markets over the past year. NASA, Volvo, Lowe's, Audi, and Volkswagen are all testing HoloLens for various reasons, and now Ford is expanding its use of Microsoft's headsets after an initial pilot phase. Ford is using HoloLens to let designers quickly model out changes to cars, trucks, and SUVs. This allows designers to see the changes on top of an existing physical vehicle, instead of the traditional clay model approach to car design.

Ford is still using clay models, but the HoloLens can be used to augment additional 3D models without having to build every single design prototype with clay.

Also at CNBC and Engadget.

Original Submission

Leaked Microsoft Documents Describe Plans for Surface Tablets, Xbox, "Andromeda", and HoloLens 7 comments

Leaked documents have provided details about Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablets, the next-generation Xbox, a two-screen handheld device, and the next HoloLens:

Andromeda, Microsoft's mythical pocketable, two-screen, hand-held device that's supposed to carve out a whole new market for itself, is due for release in 2018. The documents also say that, after Andromeda, Microsoft OEMs will produce their own comparable products, just as they've done with Surface Pro.

The big question for Andromeda is the same as it has always been: why? To define a new hardware form factor, as appears to be the intent, its design needs to be particularly suitable for something. Surface Pro, for example, has appealed particularly to groups such as students (taking notes with OneNote) and artists, thanks to its form factor and multimodal input support. To succeed, Andromeda needs to offer similar appeal—it needs to enable something that's widely useful and ill-suited to existing hardware. But presently, there are few ideas of just what that role might be.

Next up, in 2019, is a new version of HoloLens, codenamed Sydney. The documents say it is due to hit the market in some capacity (for developers or perhaps full commercial availability) in the first quarter of 2019. It will be much cheaper than the current HoloLens (though how much cheaper isn't known at this time), as well as lighter, more comfortable, and with a much better display. It will probably use a new sensor package derived from the Project Kinect for Azure announced at the Build developer conference last month and will also probably incorporate Microsoft's second-generation holographic processing unit custom processor.

Original Submission

HoloLens to Assist Surgeons at UK's Alder Hey Children's Hospital 9 comments

HoloLens will help a children's hospital perform critical surgeries

A UK children's hospital plans to use Microsoft's HoloLens and Surface Hub during critical operations like heart surgery, Microsoft announced. Alder Hey hospital will employ the Surface Hub to let medical personnel collaborate and share images, while the HoloLens will be used directly in operating theaters. "Imaging a patient's heart from the inside and from the outside is absolutely essential," said Alder Hey cardiac surgeon Rafael Guerrero. "Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality will, in the future, enable me to have a patient's scans in front of me while I'm doing the operation."

[...] We've already seen the potential for mixed reality in hospitals; for instance a company called Scopis created a HoloLens design platform for spinal surgeries. However, Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool is one of the first to adopt the tech. It's currently working with Black Marble, a Microsoft Partner, to pioneer new surgery-based Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for Surface Hub and HoloLens.

Original Submission

U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract 10 comments

US Army awards Microsoft with $480 million HoloLens contract

The US Army has awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract to supply the military branch with as many as 100,000 HoloLens augmented reality headsets for training and combat purposes, according to Bloomberg.

Microsoft beat out other leading augmented reality headset companies, like Magic Leap, which announced that it would be joining the bidding process back in September. Microsoft has had the upper hand, focusing primarily on enterprise markets, unlike Magic Leap, which has focused on the barely-existent consumer market. Microsoft has also previously sold some headsets to the military. But this contract would go well beyond its earlier collaboration, and could greatly expand the reach of the headset.

[...] According to Bloomberg, the military-grade headsets would vary extensively from the existing HoloLens design. They would include thermal sensing and night vision and be used in both training and on the battlefield. Microsoft would be expected to provide at least 2,500 units of the headset to the military branch within the next two years.

Original Submission

Microsoft Misrepresented HoloLens 2 Field of View, Faces Backlash for Military Contract 39 comments

Microsoft Significantly Misrepresented HoloLens 2's Field of View at Reveal

To significant anticipation, Microsoft revealed HoloLens 2 earlier this week at MWC 2019. By all accounts it looks like a beautiful and functional piece of technology and a big step forward for Microsoft's AR initiative. All of which makes it unfortunate that the company didn't strive to be clearer when illustrating one of the three key areas in which the headset is said to be improved over its predecessor. [...] For field of view—how much of your view is covered by the headset's display—[Alex] Kipman said that HoloLens 2 delivers "more than double" the field of view of the original HoloLens.

Within the AR and VR markets, the de facto descriptor used when talking about a headset's field of view is an angle specified to be the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal extent of the device's display from the perspective of the viewer. When I hear that one headset has "more than double" the field of view of another, it says to me that one of those angles has increased by a factor of ~2. It isn't perfect by any means, but it's how the industry has come to define field of view.

It turns out that's not what Kipman meant when he said "more than double." I reached out to Microsoft for clarity and found that what he was actually referring to was not a field of view angle, rather the field of view area, but that wasn't explained in the presentation at all, just (seemingly intentionally) vague statements of "more than twice the field of view."

[...] But then Kipman moved onto a part of the presentation which visually showed the difference between the field of view of HoloLens 1 and HoloLens 2, and that's when things really became misleading.

Microsoft chief defends controversial military HoloLens contract

Microsoft employees objecting to a US Army HoloLens contract aren't likely to get many concessions from their company's leadership. CEO Satya Nadella has defended the deal in a CNN interview, arguing that Microsoft made a "principled decision" not to deny technology to "institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy." The exec also asserted that Microsoft was "very transparent" when securing the contract and would "continue to have that dialogue" with staff.

Also at UploadVR, Ars Technica, and The Hill.

See also: Stick to Your Guns, Microsoft

Previously: U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract
Microsoft Announces $3,500 HoloLens 2 With Wider Field of View and Other Improvements

Related: Google Drafting Ethics Policy for its Involvement in Military Projects
Google Will Not Continue Project Maven After Contract Expires in 2019

Original Submission

U.S. Army Shows Off Demo of HoloLens 2 System 18 comments

US Army shows how it will use HoloLens in the field

When Microsoft employees balked at the company's $479 million HoloLens contract with the US Army, it raised a question: just what would this system look like? You now have a better idea. The Army has given CNBC an early demo of its Integrated Visual Augmentation System, which uses a modified HoloLens 2 to provide both combat assistance and training. It reportedly feels like a "real-life game of Call of Duty" -- you can see your squad's positions on a map, a compass, and even your weapon's reticle. Thermal imaging would help you see in the dark without as much of a telltale glow as existing night vision headsets.

Previously: U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract
Microsoft Announces $3,500 HoloLens 2 With Wider Field of View and Other Improvements
Microsoft Misrepresented HoloLens 2 Field of View, Faces Backlash for Military Contract

Original Submission

Microsoft's HoloLens 3 Reportedly Cancelled 5 comments

HoloLens 3 isn't happening and metaverse tie-in strategy is unclear, says report

Microsoft has done a lot with HoloLens and its successor, HoloLens 2, in the time both products have been available to the public. However, even with the line's accomplishments, a HoloLens 3 may not be in the cards.

According to a report by Business Insider, HoloLens 3 has been scrapped by Microsoft and the HoloLens team is trapped in a state of perpetual confusion and uncertainty over what the long-term goals of existing plans are. As a result, teammates are leaving Microsoft to pursue augmented reality positions at rival companies such as Meta, a development that was documented before this report.

Some of the HoloLens team believe the focus should remain on hardware innovation efforts, like has been seen with the U.S. Army's IVAS contract, which holds the potential to net Microsoft up to $22 billion in exchange for its delivery of soldier-attuned HoloLens variants. That project has been delayed, reportedly because Microsoft has been thus far unable to produce a combat-ready device.

Also at PCWorld and Engadget.

See also: Microsoft's HoloLens 3 's--t show' proves it still doesn't understand the consumer market

Previously: U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract
Microsoft Announces $3,500 HoloLens 2 With Wider Field of View and Other Improvements
Microsoft Misrepresented HoloLens 2 Field of View, Faces Backlash for Military Contract
U.S. Army Shows Off Demo of HoloLens 2 System

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday February 25 2019, @01:07AM (1 child)

    by jasassin (3566) <> on Monday February 25 2019, @01:07AM (#806111) Homepage Journal

    First, doesn't $3,500 seem kinda steep.

    Next, 75 degree field of view. I've never used VR is that impressive? 75 degrees doesn't seem like much. In Quake3 I use non VR FOV (field of view 110). Is that even comparable to 75 VR?

    -- GPG Key ID: 0xE6462C68A9A3DB5A
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Monday February 25 2019, @01:21AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Monday February 25 2019, @01:21AM (#806120) Journal

      It's more than twice the field of view of HoloLens 1.

      Typical first-gen VR headsets have had around 100-110 degrees field of view (usually measured diagonally). Ultimately they should reach 200-220 degrees horizontal FOV, and about 150 degrees vertical [].

      HoloLens is an AR headset, not VR. It's overlaying stuff on the real world. So it can get away with having a much lower FOV, although I would like to see it all the way up there so it could overlay stuff in your peripheral vision.

      The $3,500 price doesn't matter because it will be sold to businesses and maybe a few devs. It's not for you. Microsoft learned the lessons of Google and wants to avoid Glasshole syndrome, so they made a device that is primarily for businesses, hospitals, etc.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @08:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @08:16AM (#806247)

    No one will hear you scream, when your entire field of view is full of the Blue Scream of Death! And to make it worse, you paid how much for the privilege?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @08:35AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @08:35AM (#806250)

    How can they have reveled any products when the conference had not even started by the time of the submission of this story (it started 25.02. 09:00 UTC-1)?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @09:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @09:08AM (#806257)

      pre-show press