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The concept of holography has been around since the 1940s when Dennis Gabor pioneered the development of X-ray microscopy. He eventually won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1971. Holograph works by enabling applications that allow the incorporation of virtual images into the real physical world, thus creating mixed reality—such is the concept of Windows Holographic.
During the 2016 Windows 10: The Next Chapter press event, Microsoft has announced their collaboration with Intel, HTC, Lenovo, Acer, Qualcomm, Dell, Asus, HP, etc. to create specification for the Windows holographic, which will be ready for PCs, head-mounted displays (HMDs), and other Windows 10-based devices. The Windows holographic is set to be introduced with a headset called Microsoft HoloLens.
What is Windows Holographic?
Experts have stated that by 2020, about 80 million Virtual Reality devices, like that of Samsung Gear VR, will be released. However, right now, amidst the great clamor of different VR programs and devices, there has been no common ground. Interaction models, user interfaces, peripherals, input method, and content don’t sync together. This is understandable since collaboration between a real people and virtual objects is difficult—-but not impossible, as Microsoft has proven.
The Windows 10 team is focusing on the creation of the next frontier in the technological world; that is the mixed reality. What Windows holographic does is that it perceives the real world, break down the barriers between what real and what’s virtual, and mix them to create a whole new reality. In other words, when you manipulate virtual 3D objects, which you can see in your VR device, you’ll be able also to see your real hands touching them. You can also bring another person into your own world so that you can collaborate with them even when they are not physically present.
How about the HoloLens?
The Microsoft HoloLens is actually a self-contained Windows 10 computer that displays 3D virtual objects, plays spatial sound, runs augmented reality applications, and allows user interaction through gaze, hand gestures, and voice.
Microsoft HoloLens is a visor glass connected to a padded headband and could be secured at the crown of the head. Its front is tinted and enclosed with visors that have transparent lenses. Aside from these, it’s also equipped with sensors, cameras, and the computer hardware. Recently released on 30th of March, this AR device has been praised for many things including the following:
- It’s comfortable and blends well with the environment due to its design and color palette.
- It gives sharp, vibrant, and reasonably realistic holograms. When you move around, you can even see the back sides of the objects.
- The control for the HoloLens is responsive, which is expected as it is especially built so that it’s easy to use.
Because this device from Microsoft does not completely surround a person with images from the world that does not exist, it becomes more interactive and real. However, it also has its downsides. For instance, the hologram is still glitchy, and the field of view is imperfect. Once Windows holographic is launched, these issues will hopefully be addressed.
How is the Windows holographic experience?
While it’s still not commercialized, Windows holographic has been opened for a demo. One expert, who has attended such demo and got to experience the operating system firsthand, has revealed important information about it.
- HoloLens uses coordinate systems in order to position virtual objects in a real-world environment.
- The position of your head will determine where you are looking in the semi-reality world.
- Gestures are your primary means to interact with the hologram.
- You can also use your voice in order to give commands to the hologram.
- The hologram makes use of spatial sound, so when you can’t see the object, you can at least hear it.
- It makes use of spatial mapping to make a detailed representation of the real environment around the HoloLens.
During the demo, it appears that Microsoft holographic does not need additional hardware to connect to HoloLens and VR headsets. Microsoft did not reveal the secret behind this. However, they are planning to outline more details about its software and hardware during the WinHec developer conference 2016.
In what ways can Windows Holographic change life?
Windows has made it possible for a person to manipulate digital content easily and naturally. The possibilities are endless, too. You can map out your home décor plans in the exact space, travel and explore real and/or make-believe world of your own creation, visualize and design projects like vehicles or houses, collaborate with the team in the same room virtually, play more interactive games, and multi-task in the mixed reality world.
That’s not all. Since this is still the initial release of Windows holographic and the first of its kind, it’s still bound to improve and make user experience even better.
Are people ready for Windows holographic?
The HoloLens is considered a consumer product and is fairly successful, considering that it has only been out on the market for about 6 months. There’s little doubt that Windows holographic would take the same direction of success. When it was opened to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality makers in June 2016, it was indeed welcomed heartily. But how about when it’s released to the public?
If one looks at Windows holographic carefully, he can easily realize that while it can be used for personal purposes, it mainly caters to creators and workers. It might be ideal to use it at work where everybody else, or at least most of them, is also using one. However, if you’re getting it for personal use, you might not be able to maximize the device’s full potential as you will be unable to unlock all its applications. That is unless you wish to utilize HoloLens in creating 3D models of your designs.
The concept of living in a mixed reality world is surely something that would sell. However, since Windows holographic is still in its first stages of development, people can’t expect perfection from it. In the future when more people would integrate VR technology into their daily lives, the OS might just run every thought, creation process and business interactions. For now, its value is greatly appreciated as implies that something big is waiting for people in the future.