Microsoft has developed their own smartlens, but upped it to a complete holograph device without the cumbersome headgear. It’s an intriging project – basically putting your computer into a wearable lens and using the world as your screen. Windows 10 will be the first OS to support the project and the headgear has already been developed. HoloLens will untether users from the monitor and allow them to call up 3d screens to work with.
The software/lens creates a full 3d holographic world that can be used/manipulated with a few flicks of the hand. No physical mouse or keyboard. Think of it, you’re in the kitchen and you want to look up your email – just flick a few fingers and there’s your mail floating infront of you. The program will be full 3 dimensional and usable. Shrink the app to a smaller size, push it out of the way, call up a virtual keyboard, send a message, do whatever you want.
Sounds great, but will people be willing to wear the headgear? Past efforts by other companies have either developed devices that cover the head (wonderful if you wanted to have perpetual motion sickness) that blacked out the real world, or relied on eyeglass style devices that left myopics out in the cold. It’s impossible to wear much of the tech if you wear glasses – you have a choice, seeing the screen or seeing the real world. The HoloLens has moved beyond both the bulky full headgear and the irritating eyeglass replacement. It uses an adjustable headband that rotates to suit the user. Theoretically, eyeglass wearers should have no issues with it.
Now, the problem is, as stated, can they convince people to wear this ->
It’s supposed to be roomy enough to allow eyeglass wearers to use it. It’s novel to have tech designers realise eyeglasses aren’t a frivious accessory. Early testers reported their eyeglass were pushed down on their nose constantly. Seriously irritating if this is the case. On the upside, it also doesn’t block your vision, so you see the real world mixed in with the holographic one. Good news – no more banging into walls if you wear it. It also gets around the other nasty side effect of wearing the full mask version – no more motion sickness because the device isn’t trying to rework your surroundings. HoloLens isn’t doing that – it works with the natural environment and is basically a portable holographic computer. No need to play mind games with your vision. The HoloLens will use a combination of gestures and voice recognition. It also has built in speakers – no earbuds, so if you have a roommate, it might get irritating in a hurry.
I couldn’t find full specs on the HoloLens. I’m curious about the weight. It’ll be a hard sell to the home market if they weight a pound or more. But a big selling point will be the adjustability of the device. It’s not a one size fits all piece of hardware. Will people want to sit around the house wearing it? Me? Personally? In a heart beat. I’ve tried to come up with a compelling reason for Microsoft to “lend” me a pair to play with, but alas, all my ideas have boiled down to “THIS IS SOOOO COOL”. Not exactly a strong selling point.
I can see potential in the Hololens for my older customers. If I can overcome their initial resistance, the HoloLens could be amazing for people with disabilities like arthritis and Multiple Sclorosis. The big issue with standard computers is the pain factor of having to sit and type for any amount of time. If they could sit in their comfy chairs and simply flick away at a hologram, it could be transforming.
In the meantime, I’ll wait until I can see a demo of one here in Toronto. Doubtful I’ll be able to con **cough cough ** convince Microsoft to give me a pair to test on my customers.
Read more on the HoloLens here.