Windows Phone may be dead, but Microsoft is still setting up shop at Mobile World Congress. However, this time, they are there to talk about intelligent cloud and intelligent edge – both which are topics that I will not be able to wrap my head around. So, instead of trying to pretend we are acquaint with those alien topics, we would like draw your attention to another announcement: the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Headset.
The first holographic eyewear from the software giant was announced back in 2015 and subsequently released in 2016, and since then, it is being used in the various fields. Based on users experience, Microsoft has gathered inputs from users to develop the second-generation holographic eyewear which improves on three key areas: immersion, comfort, and time-to-value, according the official words.
The HoloLens 2 now boasts a new display system that delivers more vibrant and realistic holograms, a wider field of view, and it does so while retaining a holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight and without consuming more power. Interaction with holograms is also refined through a new time-of-flight depth sensor that works with built-in AI and semantic understanding to enable direct manipulation of holograms as if you are interacting with real world objects.
Furthermore, eye-tracking sensors are thrown in to make the interaction with the virtual objects feel even more natural. And there’s iris recognition bake into it for secure authentication. Now, that, folks, is high-tech stuff. As for comfort, the new HoloLens 2 placed emphasis on a more balanced center of gravity (CG), use of lightweight carbon-fiber material, and a new mechanism for wearing the device without the need to readjust every time you wear it.
Thermal management has also improved with a new vapor chamber technology and the overall design now takes into account the wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads. In other words, it will can be adjusted to fit almost anyone comfortably. Finally, it is glasses-friendly, adapting to the glasses you wear by sliding over them, while a flip-up visor (think welding mask) lets you switch tasks in a jiffy. On the time-to-value aspect, we shall let Microsoft explains it in detail:
“Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications. In addition to the in-box value, our ecosystem of mixed reality partners provides a broad range of offerings built on HoloLens that deliver value across a range of industries and use cases. This partner ecosystem is being supplemented by a new wave of mixed reality entrepreneurs who are realizing the potential of devices like HoloLens 2 and the Azure services that give them the spatial, speech and vision intelligence needed for mixed reality, plus battle-tested cloud services for storage, security and application insights.”
If you just emerged from under a rock and don’t know what the heck HoloLens is, well, just think of it as Tony Stark’s interactable holographic technology, except that you need a headset to do the same. Even the price is Tony Stark kind of level, going at $3,500 when it becomes available sometime this year (2019). Bundles including Dynamics 365 Remote Assist start at $125/month.
Clearly, this is an enterprise tech, but who is to stop you from picking one up if you are a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist, right? Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Headset will first be available to select countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand, and it is available for pre-order as we speak. So, get ready your plastic, Stark-wannabe. Head past the jump for product video.
All images courtesy of Microsoft.