How HoloLens Will Be the Future of Augmented Reality
When Google announced it would stop production on the prototype of its wearable, heads up display, Google Glass, it certainly didn’t mean other tech giants were ready to give up on augmented reality. Others continued to experiment with wearable technology that would modify and supplement our view of the real world. HoloLens is a perfect example of such an endeavor.
What Is HoloLens and Augmented Reality?
Developed by Microsoft for their Windows Holographic mixed reality computing platform, HoloLens is a wearable technology device powered by the Windows 10 operating system. HoloLens uses your real-world environment and “augments” or adds a digital layer within your physical surroundings. It creates a space where your real-world and the digital world interact. Similar to Google Glass, HoloLens is a pair of smart goggles providing the wearer with a heads-up display that shows information in a limited area of their field of vision.
Augmented Reality in the Real-World
Augmented reality provides a user with a layer of additional, or supplemental, information regarding their real-time environment. For example, if you have ever watched a game of football on television then you have experienced augmented reality in its basic form. That yellow line that shows the viewer where a team needs to reach to get a first touchdown is augmented reality. The football players or spectators in the stadium cannot see the yellow line stretched across the field, but viewers watching the game on TV can see the line and are given this extra piece of information.
Other industries that have also embraced the use of augmented reality, and everyday people are finding new ways to apply this technology in both work and entertainment. Imagine a surgeon wearing a pair of smart glasses when they are operating on a patient. On the heads up display, they can be shown the patient’s vital signs and other relevant information. This is just one example of how augmented reality and the use of technology can be used in both work and entertainment settings.
Augmented reality isn’t available only to those who can shell out big bucks for a pair of wearable smart glasses. A number of smartphone applications provide an augmented reality interface using the device’s camera to capture an image and then apply layers of information that augments the user’s experience.
HoloLens and the Future of Augmented Reality
HoloLens is Microsoft’s venture into the augmented reality world, but HoloLens takes it a step further by introducing interactive digital graphics into our real-world environment. These three-dimensional holograms can be manipulated and controlled by the wearer, and seen by other HoloLens users. A perfect example of this is shown on the HoloLens marketing video. Here an engineer demonstrates her idea for changing a motorcycle’s design. Using HoloLens, she can alter the shape and size of the fuel tank and can actually show her co-workers her idea of the improved motorcycle.
Microsoft hasn’t forgotten the consumer user either. Video games that work with HoloLens gives the user a completely different experience; a three-dimensional environment that they can control as opposed to the flat interface that players are normally used to.
Augmented reality has been around for several years and over time, there have been companies who have given users an enhanced environment through wearable technology and mobile applications. Until recently, none have been able to give users a wearable augmented reality device that they can interact with. HoloLens’ augmented reality is one that allows users to truly manipulate their environment and the objects within it. While not commercially available yet, HoloLens is supposed to hit the marketplace in 2016 with an estimated cost of around $400 USD.