HoloLens is the first augmented reality device, which allows you to see, hear, and interact with holograms within an environment such as a living room or an office space. Although similar to virtual reality devices, the HoloLens overlays interactive holograms over the real world, while virtual reality devices seal off the user to teleport them to other worlds. USA Today’s article, “We test HoloLens, VRs Augmented Cousin,” capitalizes on the unique features of the groundbreaking device, which could potentially replace many of the objects we use to interact with our digital lives.
HoloLens “sits on your head like a 1.2-pound crown. Inside the clear plastic visor are projectors for the holograms, while on the outside sits a camera as well as sensors that determine your spacial position in a given room”(Cava). One of the biggest advantages of HoloLens is that it is not tethered through a computer. This characteristic differentiates it from its competitors and makes it more appealing to customers because the device does not have a cable, therefore creating freedom of movement for the user. In addition, HoloLens has a unique user interface, which include air-touch, glance, and voice. The voice interface allows the user to connect to Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana who can tell the user anything from a weather update to accessing a webpage on a hologram browser.
HoloLens, which recently hit developers with shipments starting today (March 30, 2016), is “similar to when Steve Jobs unveiled the first app-lite iPhone: Impressive, but of limited use” as stated by writer, Marco della Cava. In particular, the size and weight of the headset prove to be a potential negative that competitors will likely adapt and improve. On the flip side, “Microsoft is banking on some of the 5,000 developers that have converged on Build to create applications that may one day cause AR goggles to be as ubiquitous as smartphones”(Cava). In fact, augmented reality devices are expected to take a 75% slice of 2020's $120 billion AR/VR pie, according to industry advisers Digi-Capital(Cava).
The HoloLens’ unique ability to experience interactive holograms over the real world could have an extreme effect on the way we interact with and understand the world. Hololens will help to educate people and broaden their horizons with respect to travel, geography and other virtual experiences. The introduction of the HoloLens also marks the beginning of a new industry (Augmented Reality Devices), which will generate money, knowledge, and additional virtual devices and applications.
Overall, the HoloLens has an extremely positive effect on users and their connection with the digital world. Although it is likely that there will be many more of its kind, the HoloLens augmented reality marks a great success and advancement for Microsoft and rest of the technology world.
By: Emma Falk