Since 2012 there have been rumours of Microsoft making an AR (augmented reality) HMD (head mounted display) that appeared to be called “Fortaleza Glasses” in the first leaked documents that included the “Road To Fortaleza” Xbox roadmap. I found the first patents for the device and reported about them in a 123KINECT article back in September 2012. Since then people discovered more patents and last year Microsoft paid up to $150 million for ODG’s AR patents, which seemed to hint that they were going to reveal an AR device soon. Well, at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event on Wednesday, they finally revealed their AR HMD which is now called Microsoft HoloLens and it’s mindblowing! You can watch the entire 25 minute Microsoft HoloLens reveal presentation in the video above, which includes a live stage demo at the end.
Microsoft HoloLens, Xbox One and Kinect 2?
Although Microsoft showed Minecraft and some kind of platform game in one of the presentation’s trailers they didn’t specifically say that the HoloLens would be used with Xbox One and Kinect 2. In fact the HoloLens, at least the version revealed, is a standalone all-in-one “holographic computer” that includes not just a CPU & GPU but also a brand new HPU (Holographic Processing Unit) that Microsoft have invented and the device uses Windows Holographic software running on Windows 10. However, they did release an image that shows the HoloLens being used to play a game set in ancient Rome (a Ryse 2 hint?!) in a room that not only had another player on a tablet but also an Xbox One and Kinect 2 under the TV with the room being displayed with AR on the TV obviously via Kinect 2. You can see that and an image of the Minecraft demo below:
Here’s more info about Microsoft HoloLens from the official website and you can see more images at the bottom of this article:
What is Microsoft HoloLens, and how does it work?
Microsoft HoloLens is the first holographic computer running Windows 10. It is completely untethered – no wires, phones, or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows you to pin holograms in your physical environment and provides a new way to see your world.
Microsoft HoloLens features see-through, holographic, high-definition lenses and spatial sound so you can see and hear holograms in the world around you. Complete with advanced sensors and a new Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that understands the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens is able to run without any wires while processing terabytes of data from the sensors in real-time.
The era of holographic computing is here.
When you change the way you see the world,
you can change the world you see.
Transform your world with holograms.
We envisioned a world where technology could become more personal—where it could adapt to the natural ways we communicate, learn, and create. Where our digital lives would seamlessly connect with real life.
The result is the world’s most advanced holographic computing platform, enabled by Windows 10. For the first time ever, Microsoft HoloLens brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things.
Holograms will improve the way you do things every day, and enable you to do things you’ve never done before.
Empowering you to achieve more.
Microsoft HoloLens puts you at the center of a world that blends holograms with reality. With the ability to design and shape holograms, you’ll have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas. Your digital content and creations will be more relevant when they come to life in the world around you.
Go beyond the screen.
As holograms, your digital content will be as real as physical objects in the room. For the first time, holograms will become practical tools of daily life.
Shape holograms to fine-tune a design. Interact with them to learn something new. When you share your ideas, show and tell from multiple perspectives. Microsoft HoloLens enables you to make decisions more confidently, work more effectively, and bring your ideas to life right before your eyes.
A new reality.
Microsoft HoloLens goes beyond augmented reality and virtual reality by enabling you to interact with three-dimensional holograms blended with your real world. Microsoft HoloLens is more than a simple heads-up display, and its transparency means you never lose sight of the world around you. High-definition holograms integrated with your real world will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play.
Your world as a canvas.
Microsoft HoloLens intelligently maps the room you’re in, blending holograms with the environment around you. Pin holograms to physical locations you choose so that your room becomes the canvas for your holographic projects and games. With Microsoft HoloLens, you can interact with holograms and everyday objects together.
A more natural way to interact.
There isn’t a screen to touch or a mouse to click. Use gestures to create, shape, and size holograms. Use your eyes to navigate and explore. Use your voice to communicate with your apps. Microsoft HoloLens understands your movements, vision, and voice, enabling you to interact with content and information in the most natural way possible.
New ways to teach and learn.
It’s easier to show than to tell, so do both. With Microsoft HoloLens, friends and colleagues can help you with difficult tasks using HoloNotes in Skype.
They can see your environment as you see it, and from their tablet or PC they can draw instructions that appear as holograms in your world. Get customized, real-time help from someone who can see what you see and hear what you hear.
New ways to visualize your work.
Go beyond what a 2D render can do by bringing your vision to life in three dimensions. Anchor holograms to physical objects so you can size and scale them in real time. Save time and make smarter decisions by seeing your work from every angle, in relation to the world around you. And partner with remote colleagues to collaborate on projects together.
New ways to collaborate and explore.
Go somewhere you’ve never been and get to know it from every angle. See holograms from your colleague’s perspective if he’s in the next room or on the other side of the world. Explore a new dimension that is grounded in, but not limited to, the physical world.
New ways to create what you imagine.
See your imagination come to life as a hologram. Effortlessly create your own holograms and share them with others. Use holograms to visualize how something will look in the physical world whether it’s a new piece of furniture in your home, a toy for your kids, or a new creation for work. HoloStudio will even let you turn your holograms into physical objects with 3D print compatibility.
Explore places you’ve never been.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will soon be exploring Mars using holograms of Mars Rover images. They will work as if they can walk on the surface of Mars, an experience previously impossible. As a result, they will be able to learn at a faster pace than ever before.
A new way to see your world.
Holograms are the next evolution in computing. With this vision in mind, hardware, software, and user design engineers came together to create a new canvas for creators and developers. Microsoft HoloLens, together with Windows 10, introduces a powerful new holographic platform. The era of holographic computing is here.
This is just the beginning.
We are already working with creators and developers all over the world on exciting new holographic experiences. But we have just scratched the surface of what is possible. We invite you to join us on this journey. We have built the platform, but it is you who will bring it to life. We can’t wait to see what you will do.
Microsoft haven’t announced a price for the HoloLens yet or a public release date, although Microsoft will be making it available to developers this Spring and NASA will be using it this Summer, including controlling a rover on Mars with it in July! More information about the HoloLens will be revealed at Microsoft’s Build conference which runs from April 2nd to April 4th. If it is going to be used with Xbox One then it will probably be shown at E3 too, hopefully with some game demos.
This technology really is a game changer, especially if the price is right and HoloLens can be used with Xbox One and Kinect 2. I can only begin to imagine what indredible games could be made using it, or how it could enhance regular games or even movies by having things come out of the screen and/or surround you like the previously shown IllumiRoom prototype but even more immersive! What do you think of Microsoft HoloLens? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Microsoft (Windows 10 event), Microsoft HoloLens page