Thanks to the recently famous app, “Pokemon Go”, demonstrating augmented reality so poorly it’s now being referred to as “Mixed Reality”. Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Contrary to popular belief, “Pokemon Go” is not true augmented reality. If you want to view true augmented reality look no further than the Microsoft HoloLens. The HoloLens takes more of a mixed reality approach to augmented reality. Mixed reality encompasses a wide range of experiences that previously were considered to be only augmented reality or virtual reality. In mixed reality, people, places, and objects from the physical and virtual worlds merge together in a blended environment that becomes your canvas.
The HoloLens does this by using Holograms which are three-dimensional images formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light sources. This makes mixed reality different from virtual reality as you are still in the real world but see artificial 3D images around you, as opposed to virtual reality where you are being immersed fully in an artificial world generated by a computer. This projection of holograms in real space can create more immersive experiences in different ways. It can help with spatial mapping allowing you to project a wire-frame format of different objects in front of you. This allows you to see the way a machine would making it highly effective in 3D modeling and construction engineering. It also helps with spatial sound allowing you to use the built-in spatial sound system in Windows 10 which provides a virtual reality of sound sourcing through a central object. The further you move away from the virtual source the more the sound will recede creating a real life Doppler Effect.
We also see technology beginning to truly connect with people on intimate levels more so than ever before. The HoloLens takes this concept step further by truly meshing fantasy with reality on a large scale. Imagine you have a broken sink and have no idea how to fix it. Any normal person would contact a plumber to come and fix it. However, imagine if both you and the plumber each had a HoloLens. You both could be located across the country wearing the device and have the ability of each of you being in the same room together through the hologram technology. From there the plumber can emit holograms that will help show you how to fix your sink. This could be a major step with “How To” videos on YouTube and may one day give people the possibility to work on various projects with others across the country, or around the world at the same place in real-time.
With all this new information and technology you may be wondering, “Where can I find the HoloLens?” Right now the Microsoft HoloLens is still in its beta testing stages. Microsoft just last year started shipping headsets to developers around the world who each paid $3,000 for the privilege of being one of the first people to work on various applications for the technology. This is double the price for Google’s failed Google Glass headgear, but low in price compared to video game developers who attempt to get their hands on new consoles. “The main reason Microsoft is shipping a “developer edition” of the headset first, is because Microsoft doesn’t know what the final HoloLens should even be”, says Kudo Tsunoda an executive at Microsoft currently behind the scenes of the HoloLens project. While Microsoft insists that there will be a consumer version eventually they’ve repeatedly warned the public not to expect it anytime soon.
With that being said we can look to past technology. When the Oculus Rift was in development the company shipped two different developer kits, and went through several very public prototypes before Oculus decided it was ready for consumers. Even upon release the headset didn’t live up to its true potential until an upgraded version was released a few years later. Looking at these same patterns we can assume the same future for the Microsoft HoloLens. Even though this revolutionizing technology is still yet a dream, one thing is for certain; these goggles will be the new iPhone.
Brett Brooks is a Partner at RedFox Creative. For more information, or to read a comment send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!