Tech of the Week: the path to the future being laid by HoloLens

It’s the talk of the town – last week’s Microsoft Builder’s Conference revealed the latest developments with their mixed reality project HoloLens. It is unproven, innovative hardware that could be the promised revolution in future computing.

If you’ve been living under a rock (or maybe just aren’t that into technology), you may have missed the news surrounding the Microsoft Build Developer’s Conference that happened last week in San Francisco. In a rather academic, nearly 3-hour-long presentation, developers and tech enthusiasts were introduced to all the developments on current projects at Microsoft.

It was during this presentation that the newest version of the HoloLens was showcased.

Originally revealed at a Windows 10 event back in January, the HoloLens is a “mixed reality” headset that allows high-resolution 3D content to be shown on a 1:1 scale. Think Iron Man’s virtual workshop helmet display but viewed through a headset, instead of freestanding holograms.

Windows call it “mixed reality”, as the device allows users to view integrated holograms within a physical space. Everything is real-time and realistically scaled (or you can re-size it yourself with a few hand gestures), and it’s all connected to physical objects that are actually in a room.

The HoloLens – a sleek, shiny, black wrap-around visor headset – is a far cry from the mess of exposed wires and gadgetry that showed up back in January. But don’t let the presentation fool you. While astounding, almost all of the response from journalist is that it’s still a work of progress.

It has an extremely narrow field of view, and putting it on is a bit of a mission, but the capabilities it exhibits range from educational to creative, entertainment to discovery.

And despite some of the more glaring issues like the narrow field of view, the HoloLens wowed the audience and demo testers with other parts of its presentation. The soundstage is immaculate and adds to the 3D experience, and the picture quality and 3D effects are some of the best that have been developed outside of a sci-fi film.  

Ultimately, it’s a piece of technology that requires a certain of suspension of disbelief. As one reviewer has said, the demo is “not a reflection of HoloLen’s current capabilities, but rather Microsoft’s hopes for HoloLens.”

The promises of HoloLens, and Microsoft Holographic, which can be integrated with Windows 10, is not an example of what the technology is currently doing. It will be what technology does in the future – and the future Microsoft has in store for us – that will be amazing.

And on a personal note, my secret childhood dream of real-life Pokemon battles may be a little closer to finally being fulfilled.