Microsoft’s HoloLens Launches us Into a Future of Holographic Computing

“This is all we need to step into the holographic landscape,” says Alex Kipman, head of Kinect at Microsoft. “Today you’re not only going to see that holograms are real, but everyone is going to experience holograms for themselves in our labs.”

At today’s Windows 10 brief in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft team leads debuted not only the latest iteration of Windows 10, but a new Surface and a device that is about to change the world as we know it: the Microsoft HoloLens. Standing on stage in Microsoft’s visitor centre, Kipman began by talking about breaking down barriers between people and technology, and unifying the digital environment with the physical. When he first said the word “hologram,” we all did a bit of a double-take. He couldn’t possibly be announcing what I think he’s announcing? But with every passing sentence it became clearer that Kipman was indeed announcing a device that could be a groundbreaking leap in human-computer interaction.

HoloLens is an all-in-one device worn on the head, which uses eye tracking, sensors and amazing 3D mapping technology to place holograms in the world around the wearer. With HoloStudio, users are able to create holograms in real time using an editor much like AutoCAD, only controlled by gestures and physically constrained only by the space around you. Designs can then be 3D printed, as demonstrated by the team this morning, who presented a functional 3D printed quadcopter designed in HoloStudio. Holographic design, gaming, remote interaction and even Skype were some of the capabilities mentioned in today’s presentation, presenting new ways to minimize the barriers between physical and virtual landscapes.

Using HoloStudio to design a quadcopter. Image from gigaom.com
How HoloLens maps Windows 10 to the user’s environment. Image from gigaom.com

Kipman, who spearheaded Project HoloLens, originally proposed the idea to Microsoft seven years ago, according to Wired. That idea became Kinect, then Kinect v2 which launched in July 2014, which are ready-to-use augmented reality sensors with advanced SDKs for developers. During his presentation, Kipman invited developers from around the world to develop holograms using Windows 10 – now the only question on all our minds is “when?”.

http://i.imgur.com/3Wxjuzz.gifv

“The era of holographic computing is here,” boasts the HoloLens site, and if the device works as well as it appeared to on stage today, Microsoft just may have brought us that much closer to the future we once thought was just fiction.

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