Microsoft have announced the HoloLens, an augmented reality headset for games and general computing. Which is maybe not what we were expecting when we were invited to Redmond to hear about the company’s future gaming plans this evening. While our correspondent is trying the thing on as I type, you can whet your appetite for impressions with the video Microsoft used to introduce the device. It’s not clear what parts of it are hypothetical and which are already functional – depicting augmented reality glasses from a third-person perspective is hard, after all, so it’s all mock-ups – but the gaming application depicted is, predictably, some form of Minecraft.
Microsoft’s Hololens site has more information, including further videos with talking heads discussing the hotness of the thing.
From the footage, it seems like it’s a midway point between Google Glass and the Kinect – you’ll be seeing things projected onto the world around you, but the headset covers both of your eyes, and you wave around in the air to control whatever you’re seeing. What’s obvious is that the fidelity of the images won’t be as clear and sharp as they are here, and other reports suggest there’s not yet any application that pins holographic objects onto the real world as in the motorbike footage in the video above.
The headset was announced alongside other new features offered as part of Windows 10, including DirectX 12, Cortana voice control, and more XBox games coming to PC. Windows 10 will also be available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users for the first year after release.
We’ll have more impressions of the HoloLens later, but Phil Spencer has already answered some of our questions about DX12 and Windows.