Microsoft Announce HoloLens Augmented Reality Headset

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.

109 Comments

  1. amateurviking says:

    I thought RPS got disqualified from big events for shoving?

  2. Banks says:

    I don’t see how a mix between google glass and kinect could turn into something worthwhile but I’m ready to be surprised.

    And if It’s terrible we’ll have some funny videos, so It’s a win win situation.

    • P.Funk says:

      I see the value immediately.

      Just think about Minority Report. The ability to link the digital and physical world into a single work space. That has obvious value. The ultimate manifestation of this is clearly something that doesn’t involve wearing glasses.

      Don’t tell me though that everytime you see 3D holograms in a sci fi movie that you can physically interact with you don’t think “thats useful, wish I had that”.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Still, haptic feedback is sorely needed, don’t you think? It’s one of the reasons kinect failed, and why occulus can’t really nail down not sitting down experiences. Even touchscreens are a bit alien at times, trying to control something with precision through a touch screen is almost impossible.

        I really don’t see gesture interfaces getting very far until we can fix that one.

        • P.Funk says:

          Well there is something very different between interacting with a 2 dimensional touch screen and interacting with something that appears to be a 3 dimensional object. If they can work out a way to have your hands manipulate the 3d object with the precision we expect of depth perception even a lack of haptic feedback can be workable.

          Frankly haptic feedback is pretty useless if you don’t have decent 3D depth perception. I’d go as far as to say that 3d object manipulation with decent depth perception without haptic feedback would be far more intuitive than the inverse.

        • Christo4 says:

          If i may, if you remember the gloves in minority report, i think something similar may be implemented.
          So, some pressure pads on the tips of the fingers so that when you touch something you could actually feel it, or something like that.

      • Emeraude says:

        I see the value it may have to others (though the first thing I personally notice in those scifi movies is how I don’t trust their UI to actually work in real life most of the time), but really, personally, just a messy, tiresome control scheme, the kind of which would not benefits most daily use tools – let alone most games.

        *Some* specialized use of the tech will probably be invaluable to some users (I can see some medical or some art fields taking advantage of this). But for daily use ? Doesn’t seem particularly desirable to me.

        *If* it ever materializes in any meaningfully usable form.

        Edit; grumpy cynical me just envisioned that thing becoming the next step of Power Point presentations. I shudder at the thought.

        • Arren says:

          Sadly, imagining an Augmented PowerPoint in full 3D was my first cynical reaction to this announcement…..

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        It has always been my dream to use Photoshop in the least efficient way possible.

  3. silentdan says:

    They’re obviously not actual holograms or you wouldn’t need anything between your eyes and the environment. So, this is really just a Microsoft Rift, with the ability to make most pixels transparent. Right? Or am I missing something?

    • ersetzen says:

      Also to track the world relatively accurately and analyze gestures you do. Otherwise the whole thing would be kinda pointless. I would also guess that it isn’t a screen plus camera setup but a screen that can actually become translucent because lags would be horribly nauseating and sending high quality video somewhere, calculating and overlaying just to send it back would create significant latency…

      Edit: It uses transparent lenses but what happens if you put your hand before an image? It would have to layer your hand in front of the image or it would look weird. Either that or keep the screen transperent at all times which would suck…

      • theSeekerr says:

        > “It uses transparent lenses but what happens if you put your hand before an image? It would have to layer your hand in front of the image or it would look weird. Either that or keep the screen transperent at all times which would suck…”

        If you can track the hand precisely enough, you could make only the pixels covering the hand transparent, which would look pretty good.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Oculus Rift is virtual reality, and this is augmented reality. Carmack and Abrash say the technology is not there yet for augmented. So, I’m a bit skeptical.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I guess it might be cool as an addition to a monitor? Use it to display hud options and such while viewing the game world on your screen. Would need tracking of in-game objects to be properly implemented.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    Just what PC gamers were clamoring for.

  5. SupahSpankeh says:

    Meh. I mean, it has more practical applications in design, and projecting videos onto walls might be better than a TV once the display is amazing, but for games I don’t think it compares well to Oculus.

    • LexW1 says:

      Sure it does – it’s pro-social, rather than anti-social, and that’s a huuuuuuuuuuuge deal for people who don’t play alone, locked in their bedroom, which is like, 95% of gamers.

      • Razumen says:

        Lol, way to propagate an ancient and derogatory stereotype of gamers that simply isn’t true.

        • LexW1 says:

          You need to re-read what I said.

          I said very few gamers play alone in their room, no SO, no kids, no cat, etc. For those few Oculus is great.

          For everyone else, this will be a much bigger deal.

    • iainl says:

      After thinking about it for a bit, I’ve got to disagree.

      There are two complaints I keep hearing about Elite Dangerous on the Rift. Firstly, that the resolution isn’t quite there to comfortably read the virtual monitor in your cockpit that all the docking and trading interaction happens through, and secondly that it’s easiest to navigate using the keyboard that you can’t see because you’re wearing a VR headset.

      So imagine the exact same game, except that your arms are your real arms, your keyboard, mouse and flightstick are your real hardware, and the ship computer display is on your real monitor (probably moved to one side of the desk, like it is in the game, so you’ve got a better view out the front of the ship). You’re sitting at your actual computer desk, but instead of there being a wall in front of it, you can see out into space. And if someone walks into the room, you can see them, too, rather than get freaked out when they tap you on the shoulder.

      Sounds pretty good to me.

      • LexW1 says:

        Precisely. This is a realistic vision of something almost every gamer could get good use out of, unlike the Oculus.

  6. paralipsis says:

    I’m clearly not the target market for this promotional video, because I just kept looking at this thinking that this kind of stuff has been broadly feasible for a long time, but there are technical hurdles with regard to latency and tracking precision that have held these things back from being broadly successful. Therefore a video that promotes the ideas of augmented reality without giving me any hard numbers on latency and tracking makes this feel devoid of real substance to me. I mean, what’s the resolution of this thing? What kind of wireless protocol does it use?

    As an idea, I feel like I’ve seen all this before. And as for implementation, this video shows me nothing other that the basic form factor of the device.

    • RARARA says:

      Forget all that. Tell me how is the old dude drawing arrows in 2D on a tablet get them transformed to 3D on that woman’s holographic view of the pipe?

      • Rizlar says:

        Comments like this make the whole thing look entirely like ridiculous satire.

        Also I swear the word ‘hologram’ means something different to what is on show here.

      • Hypocee says:

        You know what, MS bought up most of the ads on YouTube today so I’ve seen it 5-6 times. That ‘s the only part that I recall bugging me. Not because of what you point out – they’re selling a dream and maybe his instructional software knows the 3d shape of the part, whatever – but because of the sheer condescension of it. Oh, in the next step I (and this being RPS, a woman who’s undoubtedly bewildered by anything involving a wrench so thanks for showing me how pipes work Dad) screw the new pipe onto the two points I unscrewed the old pipe off of? No shiiiit? For this we want streaming AR?

        I’ve recently been reading a bit of the old Microvision blog – a company that did a bunch of HMD R&D and whose major product was a heads-up display for auto mechanics. That scene could so easily have been that genuinely useful case! ‘Remove the intake manifold by loosening these five obvious bolts as well as the sixth one here, which is often missed because it’s hidden behind wire harnesses.’ ‘Adjust all these screws to the torque settings they’re tagged with in your HUD.’

      • Razumen says:

        Considering the display can understand the space of the world around it, drawing a 2D arrow on a tablet that showed the woman’s POV, and then making it appear closest to the nearest physical object isn’t really that hard of a feat to understand.

        • paralipsis says:

          Except that even when you are working in a 3D model, it’s a challenge for a single input like that to be interpreted on the correct plane. In a real world situation, the person on the table would first need to select the position and orientation of the plane they intend to draw on, and then draw.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    Obv what’s in the video is quite ridiculously over promising everything (and who the hell would wear that thing around the office) but I could see this as cool for a lot of things including blurring the line between board games and computer games (if all your friends are rich enough to afford one anyway) and watching TV shows while in bed.

  8. AngoraFish says:

    This is going to be as big as Google Glass!

    You read it here first folks.

  9. Okami says:

    While this augmented reality thing is impressive, I find it far more impressive, that Microsoft obviously managed to build a time machine, travel back to the early nineties, abduct a product designer and bring him to the future year 2015t. Seriously, this looks like something out of a twenty year old cyberpunk movie

  10. neckro23 says:

    If MS delivers, this is huge. It’s exactly the old sci-fi dream of being able to reach out and manipulate 3D virtual objects with your hands, no funny gloves required. I think Oculus just got their thunder stolen.

    To clarify: No, it’s not really holograms, they’re just calling it that. It’s a transparent augmented-reality display, with a descendant of the Kinect tech mapping out local real-world objects (notably your fingers).

    Comparing this to Google Glass is like comparing an iPhone to one of those old Nokia candybar phones. I just hope MS doesn’t lock down the API like they did with the Kinect and lets people actually do things with it.

    • thedosbox says:

      If MS delivers, this is huge. It’s exactly the old sci-fi dream of being able to reach out and manipulate 3D virtual objects with your hands, no funny gloves required. I think Oculus just got their thunder stolen.

      Yeah, many people seem to be missing the difference between augmented vs virtual reality. From a gaming perspective I imagine this would work well for virtual rubiks cube type games. And being grounded in reality might reduce some of the nausea issues VR users have to deal with.

      • neckro23 says:

        A Rubik’s Cube would just be a simple tech demo. Working AR (which by all appearances, this is) would be much more of a game-changer (literally) than VR. Once it’s portable, I imagine conventional “flat” games like the ones we’re playing now will be a niche market within a few years. As a simple example, imagine something like Ingress, except you don’t have to pull out your phone to find the portals. They’re simply there, in the world with you.

        The ability to modify your perceptions of the real world is a much more powerful tool than having to recreate it from scratch like with VR. For some intriguing examples of what kinds of radical shifts it could cause, see Vernor Vinge’s novel Rainbows End (although the Wikipedia article covers the most interesting points).

      • Hypocee says:

        Once more with feeling, the CastAR. You folks are exactly right that AR’s a whole different world from VR. Ellsworth and Johnson have found from the beginning that having most of your vision on real objects prevents nausea and lets you get away with much looser registration between the virtual objects and the real world.

        They’re reacting fairly well to the world’s biggest gun barrel swinging toward their tech. I suppose they were already planning for second or third place, and shipping alpha units a few weeks ago may mean they’ll beat this to market.

  11. Kruxed says:

    Finally, interactive porn and lap dances, thanks MS

  12. Hunchback says:

    Wonder if this will end up like Surface did…

    • Dave L. says:

      They’re clearly aiming at a consumer market with this, and need to beat whatever Magic Leap is doing with Google’s money to market.

      The original Surface concept never really had any way of being a practical consumer product, relying as it did on multiple tracking cameras throughout the room and a big ass touchscreen table that nobody would’ve been able to afford.

      • Hunchback says:

        But it looked so awesome in the ads, like something out of proper sci-fi movies! :D Oh well, back to good old kbd+mouse

    • Solidstate89 says:

      Becoming a profitable business with its third iteration? I bet MS would love that.

  13. Uhuru N'Uru says:

    This is their big PC Gaming News, they must be joking. No this won’t have many gaming implications at all and just kinnect/move on consoles, if gamers wanted to physically, do trhese things they’ed leave the computer and really do them. That’s not going to be taken up by gamers anymore than Kinnect,. Console don’t want it, PC don’t want it.
    VR is not see through crap, it’s immersion in a Virtuial world good enough to fool the senses, The visual Image is the easy bit, making it good enough to fool the senses is the hard part.

    • Faxanadu says:

      I kinda disagree, I think this is the next step after Oculus, and after that comes Oculus 2.

      Oculus immersion carries you only so far. A game interface that combines real world and virtual is an “easy way” to take the immersion to the next level. Imagine moving around outside, but seeing the virtual world ontop of the real world. You get all the movement and touch and all those senses with you, from the real world, just your eyes fooling you, saying what you’re touching is something else. After that, would be Oculus 2, which would just tap into your brain.

      • Cinek says:

        Sounds like a nightmare. First of all: oh my god, heart attack from all that running through void in a modern games (especially MMOs). Secondly: if you can see real world than it’s immersion-breaking, if you cannot see real world then it’s knee-breaking / potential life hazard.

        In either case – it’s not an Oculus 2.

        • Dave L. says:

          if you cannot see real world then it’s knee-breaking / potential life hazard.

          Not necessarily. since it has Kinect style 3D scanning and mapping stuff built in, it could just overlay real world tripping hazards with virtual world ones of the same dimensions. It’s pretty much the first generation of the AR lenses in “Fast Times at Fairmont High” and “Rainbow’s End” by Vernor Vinge.

  14. Faxanadu says:

    It’s just… It’s just not going to deliver.

    I feel it an utter waste of time to even talk about it, because it’s just not going to deliver.

    Neat video tho. :|

  15. Dave L. says:

    LOOK AT THE DOG AT 2:00! Microsoft wants to replace real pets with HoloPets!

    • simontifik says:

      Flip that. I’d put one of these headsets on my dog so holo-me can keep her entertained while I play video games.

    • Spacewalk says:

      HoloCats and HoloDogs living together.

  16. John O says:

    Well i think this is seriously underwhelming. It’s basically them saying “yeah we noticed you guys want something like this” and then paying a couple of guys to make a mock-up. It’s the hardware equivalent to a prerendered game trailer.
    There is no information on the resolution of this thing, it’s just supposed to be lightweight and free from cables, which makes me wonder about the fidelity of data reaching it wirelessly. So yeah. Plastic circle with headphones and stereoscopic pixels on a semi-transparent display. Yes, we’re all excited about the possibilities of strapping displays to our faces, but i’d prefer facts at this point.

    • Buuurr says:

      Do you also find that when people ‘announce’ – keyword- announce… announce… eh hem. So, do you find announcements about big fight line ups as fun as the fight too?

      • John O says:

        I’m not even sure there’s going to be a fight. For all i know this is a research experiment and disappears unceremoniously in half a year. I’m guessing this is Microsoft covering all bases, so they can say they’ve been in it from the start should the idea get off the ground. So far there’s no serious contender for Oculus. I think the magic leap thing got some serious funding but there’s no hard data on that one.

    • P.Funk says:

      We’re in the era of streaming games to other devices wirelessly. I think data fidelity isn’t going to be an issue.

      • John O says:

        That depends somewhat on the amount of data you want to stream. My smartphone streams audio to my headphones via bluetooth, and it’s not exactly lossless. Audio is pretty cheap compared to video. Say you want to pump out 60 FPS at 2560×1440 without artefacts and you’re looking at a ton of data, not counting spatial audio and data sent back from the holo-whatever-device to the computer.

        • Buuurr says:

          lol

          • John O says:

            Right. I see the error of my ways now. Of course my perspective can not be valid if it contradicts what you think. So sorry.

  17. aircool says:

    I hear Microsoft has already sold a license to Brazzers.

  18. Cinek says:

    Hololens video begins with a shot of Soyuz o_O at least it’s the one launching astronauts, not some russian spy-satellite :P

  19. Dave L. says:

    Wired’s hands-on with a unit from a few months back makes it sound pretty cool, and the Mars demo they talk about sounds amazing. But I suspect when they were using it there were some people relaying their voice commands to the computer in much the same way as the old Kinect ‘Milo’ demo worked.

    My big question about it is whether pixel opacity will be controllable. The concept demo shows the guy throwing his TV window up to the wall for watching stuff, which will be decidedly less cool if you can see the wall through the TV.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It will work if it has something like selective polarization on the viewing glass so it can go completely dark for watching Netflix and gaming, or lighter for the augmented reality stuff.

      As always, it comes down to price and support. If it takes off, I could be interested in the 3rd generation, and if Google or Oculus aren’t offering something better at a similar price point. Interesting times ahead.

  20. Buuurr says:

    Looks great. If one of these happen in real life the way they did in that video it would be a success.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I agree, but therein lies the rub: it won’t. We know that it won’t be this good. Microsoft knows it won’t be this good. All the tech bloggers currently shitting their pants about how awesome this thing is know that it won’t be this good. Microsoft is the land of broken promises and shattered dreams.

      • Buuurr says:

        Thanks for the look into the certain future. Do you have any lotto numbers I could get rich off of? lol.. you folks.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Just noticed that you said you love your Kinect, so I take back what I said. You are going to love this. People who have expectations of their hardware working as advertised will be disappointed .

  21. ffordesoon says:

    ohwaityouwereserious.gif

    Look, game/tech industry, uncomfortable headgear is just never going to be a mainstream thing no matter how much you want it to be. Make one of these headsets as comfortable as my glasses, and maybe we’ll talk. Until then, these will be niche products.

    • Buuurr says:

      True, but some people still love it. I love my Kinect… a lot of people hate it.

      • ffordesoon says:

        If you love it, I am – no sarcasm – happy for you. It’s always nice to love things!

        But sometimes the things we love are just not going to be embraced by the mass market, no matter how much we want them to be.

        Signed,
        The owner of a Playstation Vita and a Wii U

        • Buuurr says:

          Hey, I agree. But just because everyone doesn’t think its cool isn’t reason to not forge ahead with something. Heck, lobster used to be called trash fish no more then 50 years ago. People who ate it were considered to be the poorest of the poor. It was akin to eating worms or bugs today. But, if there is a market (no matter how niche), someone will make bank.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Certainly true for the everyday applications for business and home. For gaming, it’s a different story. There are people playing Elite Dangerous right now, who won’t play that game without the brick on their face.

    • Hypocee says:

      Look, gaming/tech industry, glaring fixed-location screens are never going to be mainstream no matter how much you want them to be. Make one that can go from bus to kitchen to couch like an HMD and we’ll talk.

  22. ResonanceCascade says:

    I just imagine a world full of people waving their hands furiously while they try to get the damn thing to do what they want.

  23. horsemedic says:

    Microsoft is the company that after 20 years can’t get the Start Menu to reliably show up when I move my cursor to the bottom of the screen, so I have absolutely no expectation they’ll be able to design a pair of glasses that augments reality with convincing holographic images.

    But if they do, see Black Mirror Christmas Special for how it winds up.

  24. Creeping Death says:

    Everyone needs to keep in mind the Kinect reveal video and how far away from reality that ended up being.

    I’m willing to bet this follows in Kinect’s footsteps. Releases in a subpar form that doesn’t fulfill most of it’s original promises and people quickly stop caring about it.

  25. MrStones says:

    Slightly OT but am I the only one thinking that very soon I’ll need adblock installed on a OS level rather than just on my browser. Check out the title image on the win10 article from earlier, unless I’m completely misunderstanding what trip advisor is that’s a bloody advert in the start menu! I’d treat that the same as someone coming and sticking a billboard up in my house.

    Ok, ads can be good for helping keep the lights on for websites and I’m complaining about something that I’ve seen in free programs for decades without bothering me but I’ve had a bad feeling since win 8 that Microsoft is going down the “Specifically designed with you in mind *cough*and ad money*cough*” route. Casting the net so wide on free upgrades doubles my suspicions, although the money they make from business side I reckon they could offer win10 100% free for home use, still charge the manufacturers for a OS to put on their stock and not notice any difference.

    • Emeraude says:

      Given the business/government sides, as far as MS policies are concerned, more often than not seem like the real customers, and private end users just a net of people they need to keep captured for ecosystemic value and relevance, I’d say the price point change would just acknowledging a fact.

    • John O says:

      Btw, on my rooted Android Adblock is installed at the OS level. Just so you know.

  26. Turkey says:

    I hope they cover this in the next Idle Thumbs episode. Jake is going to have a field day.

  27. Chicago Ted says:

    I’m very sad it probably won’t work with my glasses. I guess I’ll have to get lasik eventually.

    But also, it really reminds me of Dennou Coil. Will I be able to (nearly) physically hand someone a hologram of a word document?

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      If it’s going to be like Dennou Coil, it’ll need a sideways-viewing camera to see when you’re putting your hand up to your ear with thumb and little finger extended to make a phone call.

      This is a feature I can wholeheartedly support.

  28. Mr Propellerhead says:

    HoloPromise?

  29. Morcane says:

    Well, at least MS is showing something more meaty than Google ever did. All Google did for years was fumbling about with their AR glasses offering, asking 1500 dollars for a founder’s type like deal. They could’ve beaten MS by years, and they just fumbled.

    Likewise for Apple, nothing really serious on their UI end happened for the past 10 years. It’s all more of the same: UI reskins. Of course, they focused hugely on mobile, for MS that train left the station (and the stuff MS showed for their phone line is meh indeed)..

    I genuinely think MS deserves credit here – at least they’re trying to move things forwards, crappy names aside (holograms? really? wtf…)

  30. Koinzellgaming says:

    This thing looks pretty lukewarm to me. Because the idea is pretty good if it has a good functionality but the field of vision and the eye coverage of those classes isn’t good enough to be immersed in the kind of “Virtual hub”. It’s more similar to sunglasses and no matter what you’ll be able to see the corners of the screen. And also think the holograms themselves will look slightly finicky because the glass isn’t curved so that it would be realistic to see the graphics, etc. Having stylish glasses for that, looks impractical as hell because the functionality. OSVR and Oculus both have lenses that are meant to be like an extension of your eyes while this is.. Sunglasses.
    So now there will be 4 different companies challenging the VR future.. Pretty sure that Microsoft won’t come out on top in terms of gaming though (If it will have a breakthrough, it will be for the casual consumer which I guess is the focus for that.)

    • Morcane says:

      Except this is not VR, it’s AR and most likely the 2 technologies will have totally different application domains.

      • Koinzellgaming says:

        I guess Augmented Reality is different from Virtual Reality, though I still think that the augmentation can’t be too good considering the form (Though we’ll see). It’s more similar to google glasses than VR in its applications from what I’ve seen.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Henke says:

    Live demonstration: link to youtube.com

    This is seriously impressive stuff. The tracking seems very stable and there’s no latency to speak off. Certainly a good step up from Google Glass and other AR glasses currently on the market. I don’t imagine this’ll catch on as a consumer product just yet, but for things like Remote Assistance in industries it could start seeings some use.

  32. Misha says:

    Not exactly VR, so not what I’m most eager to see on the gaming scene, and it’s Microsoft to boot, so meh…

    On the other hand, it’s made by a company interested in actually making stuff they can sell, so unlike the Oculus Drift, it might actually find its way to shelves before the heat death of the universe.

    • Asurmen says:

      So wait, you can’t buy a Rift? That’s news to me, as well as it being a product clearly heading towards consumer release.

      • Misha says:

        It’s been “headed that way” for what, three years now? Four?

  33. rustybroomhandle says:

    “Microsoft Announce Trinket Intended To Boost Their Share Price”

  34. smeghamr says:

    People will lose jobs, houses, families and most senses of self worth over shit like this. Please. Stop.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Everyone’s going to lose their job before this* is over, one way or another.

      *this being “human civilisation”

  35. Simon_Scott says:

    Here’s what I don’t get. In a VR headset, you have a screen close to each eye. Your eyes focus on the screen, and you adjust your eyes laterally till the images produce a 3D image. You have the sense of there being an object that is six feet away, but your eyes are really focusing on an object that is not very far away at all. There may be some jiggery pokery going on with the lenses that reduces that discrepancy but that’s basically how VR operates.

    WIth MS’s AR proposal the suggestion is that you are getting images either reflected on a screen close to the eyes, or the screen is some clever transparapixel screen, and MS are using it to overlay images onto the real world. This would rely on our eyes being able to focus on the images on the near screen, and the far objects onto which those images are mapped, both at the same time. I just don’t see how that could be possible.

    Ironically I believe it will take a full-on VR headset with a mounted 3D camera to get the kind of AR experience they’re suggesting is possible. That way both the “real” world and the augmentations are at screen distance.

    • Hypocee says:

      I had a little dissertation on real vs. virtual images but on second reading it looks like you understand that part. Anyway, you’re right except for the part about ‘focusing’ on the ‘screen’. It’s not a screen but a specular reflective surface – if you’re trying to look the systems up it’s most commonly referred to as a ‘half-silvered surface’ – which means that you can and do focus beyond it. It does mean you’re right, everything’s focused at one depth. While that depth can be chosen arbitrarily, so far every projective HMD ever made has focused it ‘at infinity’ because that’s the most restful position for the eye and the most compatible with seeing the projected image and objects beyond the eye’s accommodation range clearly at the same time.

      Upshot, yes, if you try to fix a HoloLens object on a close surface, even with opacifying pixels, it’ll be ‘behind’ the surface, you’ll have accommodation clash and either the real or the virtual object will be somewhat out of focus. However, the eye’s ‘infinity’ is surprisingly short – Wikipedia sez two meters – so beyond that there’s no clash and it’s quite mild at arm’s length. Perceptually, inside accommodation range our brains utterly override accommodation data with eye parallax data so it’s just a matter of clarity. So yes, it’s a problem with the tech but quite a minor one; if you try to have a character walk around on a page of book you’re holding close, for instance, and shift your attention from one to the other a lot, you might give yourself a headache. But for putting objects further away than your elbow, on walls or floors or desks, it’s not an issue.

      The technology for projecting images with accommodative depth is conceivable, and called ‘light field’. So far IIRC they’ve gotten up to something like 8x8x8 voxels.

  36. sapien82 says:

    I have to say I’m impressed with their future collaboration with NASA on mars science projects, as NASA announced they will use microsoft Hololens on future projects.

    However I am not impressed by Microsoft calling it Holo lens and saying its holographic technology when its just Augmented reality, there are no projectors creating holograms either in the CPU technology or the headset !
    It’;s a total cop out , grab at people who are interested in holographic technology when there is not a single hologram in sight !

    The company called Innovega are developing a contact lens which will achieve the same thing as occulus, google glasses, and Microsoft Hololens.

    link to innovega-inc.com
    However they claim they have a working model and have been to game conventions but I’m not completely convinced yet as I have not seen a working model on youtube, not to say that one doesn’t exist, RPS can you guys maybe find out from them and request a demo ????

  37. rockman29 says:

    It’s an advertisement, not a technical demonstration. If anyone really believes it will work as seamlessly as the advertisement describes…. lol. The software and hardware to allow that AR to interact so seamlessly with real world objects is something I doubt is very simple or coming very soon either.

    It is a nice device to show off technology though, like putting those pegs in holes and such in the actual demo, and an indication of what may happen in the very distant future when both software and hardware actually allow those features to be in consumer products.