Microsoft Embraces Augmented Reality with Windows Holographic

Microsoft Embraces Augmented Reality with Windows Holographic

Microsoft wants your living room to be your operating environment.

After announcing today's Xbox-related Windows 10 news, Microsoft unveiled its own offering in the virtual reality/augmented reality space.

Called Windows Holographic, Microsoft's latest venture is centered around its own HoloLens headset. The HoloLens is a wearbale computer, as the headset contains a CPU, GPU, holographic processor, and the various sensors needed to pull of such a feat. It reminds me of Google Glass, but taken to the next logical step. (And the hardware looks way cooler.)

Windows Holographic places an operating system completely around you, as the HoloLens visor shows you what its hardware is projecting. You'll be able to hear holograms behind you, so those not in view will still be made spatially aware.

Microsoft Windows Holographic 310x

While Windows Holographic is certainly experimental at the moment, its apps won't be. Because of Microsoft's Universal Apps initiative -- the same software strategy that allows Windows desktop software to run on mobile, and the Xbox One, and vice versa -- will extend to WinHolo (my nickanme, not theirs). This means developers creating apps for Windows 10 will be able to push those same apps to the HoloLens hardware, with some (hopefully minor) code-tweaking.

Much of Windows Holographic and the HoloLens hardware dates back almost seven years, according to today's Microsoft presentation. The initial hologram talks led to the development of Kinect, which undoubtedly plays a part in Microsoft's new wearable hardware.

While basic Windows come to mind, Microsoft has already stressed that Windows Holographic will extend to all the same reaches as Windows 10. This means apps and games like Skype and Minecraft will be coming to augmented reality, too.

Source: Microsoft

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If it works even a fraction of the way it's shown, then I'm sold. Damn, this makes Google Glass and Oculus Rift look like children's toys.

With all the layoffs at the escapist, it seems they got rid of the proof readers too. "WinHolo (my nickanme, not theirs)" "HoloLens is a wearbale computer" "the various sensors needed to pull *of* such a feat" might want to look over your article again.

Hdawger:
If it works even a fraction of the way it's shown, then I'm sold. Damn, this makes Google Glass and Oculus Rift look like children's toys.

I agree with the first statement, but not the second. Glass and Oculus have very different purposes. Glass: allowing a non-invasive yet constantly aware interface to your smartphone. Oculus: providing a complete and immersive virtual reality. This is all about augmented reality (which a lot of people assumed Glass was for), which has many different applications, though many may seem similar.

That said, the biggest hurdle will be making it bearable to wear. I'm a techie, so strapping this thing to my head is what I call a Tuesday. But, from the images shown, it looks incredibly dumb and bulky. The Oculus can get away with it because you are just supposed to use it sitting in your home, but I can't imagine walking around with this crazy looking visor on for the normal person.

So how long until someone finds a way to do inappropriate games with it?

....

Or even if this is the first step in making a Monroe-Bot?

This certainly looks amazing, but I have my doubts it'll be less than a decade before we see anything really worthwhile. Even if the first iteration of the headset is perfect (doubtful), getting good software developed for something like this is going to take some time.

Good to see an attempt, in any case.

Hdawger:
If it works even a fraction of the way it's shown, then I'm sold. Damn, this makes Google Glass and Oculus Rift look like children's toys.

Jadak:
This certainly looks amazing, but I have my doubts it'll be less than a decade before we see anything really worthwhile. Even if the first iteration of the headset is perfect (doubtful), getting good software developed for something like this is going to take some time.

Good to see an attempt, in any case.

Microsoft had a stage demo for a 3D modeling tool that works with it and showed how it looks for the wearer by recording it with a fancy camera. They also have Skype and Minecraft already running and the media at the briefing will be shown those at the event.

They also partnered with NASA and NASA is using with the Mars rover to allow users to "explore" the surface of Mars and interact with the rover.

I'm just really happy to see VR and AR make such headway in the past few years!

EDIT: By users I mean NASA scientists (although I think the media will get to play with it today)

Hdawger:
If it works even a fraction of the way it's shown, then I'm sold. Damn, this makes Google Glass and Oculus Rift look like children's toys.

Do you remember how awesome the Kinect looked in the firsts ads? It made the Wii and the PlayStation Move look like children's toys.

*sigh* Good old days...

CaitSeith:

Hdawger:
If it works even a fraction of the way it's shown, then I'm sold. Damn, this makes Google Glass and Oculus Rift look like children's toys.

Do you remember how awesome the Kinect looked in the firsts ads? It made the Wii and the PlayStation Move look like children's toys.

*sigh* Good old days...

To be fair, the Kinect is quite useful when you aren't trying to use it as a toy(i.e. using it as a crappy control interface for gaming). The Kinect itself is fine; it's just misapplied(not to say that it couldn't improve through future iterations). People have been finding interesting things to do with it since they got it working with PCs.

I kind of see this in a similar light. It isn't something I think I'm ready to buy into like I am the Oculus Rift, but that's because I see augmented reality to be of more use as a tool rather than as a gaming peripheral. I don't have a use for augmented reality currently, so I have less interest in it than in VR. That doesn't mean there's no use for it any more than there is no use for motion tracking.

Oh look, another piece of technology that won't function for me whatsoever because I don't "see" my surroundings in a true 3 dimensional sense.

It's funny how they don't ever show it from the front in that video, I bet it looks pretty silly. Also yeah seems like it would be heavy and bulky, and I can't imagine for the life of me anybody wanting to actually wear that thing around.

Straight out of Iron Man...

Mostly.

image

Yeah, if this works anything like it does in the video, then this will probably be one of the best pieces of consumer hardware available, and one hell of an advancement in technology. That being said though, whilst this looks great in concept, y'know what else looked great in concept?

This video reminds me of project Natal. As such, I am extremely skeptical they can provide any of the advertised features.

RatGouf:
So how long until someone finds a way to do inappropriate games with it?

Or, even better, how long until MS finds a way to obstruct your view with advertisement?
My guess is: on release day...

now this has a hell of a lot more potential for gaming on a pc, while i get the appeal of VR, i dont use a controller so its next to useless for me

Righto. For gaming, I feel as though this would be useless. AR just isn't precise enough, and as the Kinect proves, controlling games by waving your arms around like a tit isn't a good system.
Outside of gaming, however, this would be great. For use in design especially, as you'll be able to see exactly what a creation would look like without building a model, and then easily edit it. As a UI system it would just be plain cool.

I think that the best use of this would be in place of tablets. It ought to be possible to put a computer in a pair of those goggles to be powerful enough, but they are even more convenient than a tablet, and probably more useful.

The Kinect is an amazing piece of hardware, so I have no doubt they can pull something like this off. It is the software part that gets me worried.

 

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