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

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-02-27 18:50:33
Techonomics

Microsoft Significantly Misrepresented HoloLens 2's Field of View at Reveal [roadtovr.com]

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 [roadtovr.com] 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 [engadget.com]

Microsoft employees objecting to a US Army HoloLens contract [engadget.com] aren't likely to get many concessions from their company's leadership. CEO Satya Nadella has defended [cnn.com] 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 [uploadvr.com], Ars Technica [arstechnica.com], and The Hill [thehill.com].

See also: Stick to Your Guns, Microsoft [wsj.com]

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

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


Original Submission