HoloLens has been making quite a bit of noise ever since it was first shown back in January. It is supposed to bring “hologram technology” to the masses as a stand-alone device, which can also work with a PC or Xbox one day.
What’s new today is that we had new demos of the technology, and for its Build conference, Microsoft rigged a camera that can simulate what a HoloLens user actually sees. The cool thing about HoloLens is that several people can be looking at a virtual object from different angles at the same time.
Here’s the video from today’s demo. Remember, you are seeing the “holograms” as the cameraman sees them:
The experience seems by FAR superior to any other previous augmented reality (AR), which Microsoft calls Mixed Reality. That’s because the HoloLens format makes it much more natural since you have both hands free and it covers a much larger section of one’s field of vision.
Of course, people can get really excited by this, some analysts are even saying that AR/VR will be a $150 billion industry in 5 years, which is absolute crap. AR+VR four times bigger than PlayStation and Xbox combined, in 5 years? Extremely unlikely.
Yet, there is a lot of true potential, and HoloLens is the most advanced AR package of hardware/software today. In my opinion, there is a real business to be built for industrial and architectural purposes. Epson has already proven that AR can help save time and money in specific industrial jobs.
Secondly, such an AR system can help the construction business with not only design, but also ongoing inspections of the work in progress. Since the construction business mainly communicates using 2D drawing to build 3D structures, miscommunication and errors cost lots of time and money.
As for the medicine demo – it’s nice, but I’m not convinced that it is so much better than looking at it on a monitor, except for the human interaction, but it borders on the entertainment. Talking about Entertainment, HoloLens could be an interesting supplement for Xbox games, but I doubt that developers will rush to add this as a first-class citizen anytime soon. Bill Gates himself said that it would take time to see the full potential of this technology.
Regardless of the outcome, HoloLens is an awesome project that will be inspiring the next generation AR systems.