MICROSOFT has released a new pair of virtual reality goggles that let you “touch holograms for the first time”.
The gadget promises to bring Minority Report-style tech to life – where you can interact with computer graphics in mid-air.
Reuters Microsoft’s new HoloLens 2 goggles could revolutionise the way we interact with the world
Microsoft The goggles overlay computer-generated images onto the world around you
Microsoft first released the HoloLens mixed reality headset back in 2016, but the tech that powered it has quickly moved on.
The headset lets you see normally, but overlays virtual effects – like apps or games – onto the world around you. This is different from virtual reality, which replaces your entire world with computer graphics.
The new HoloLens 2 goggles make a number of improvements, most importantly with the addition of accurate hand tracking.
Each of your fingers can be mapped and tracked, so you can interact with computer-generated graphics very precisely.
Microsoft Microsoft imagines a future where surgeons practice on CGI bodies using HoloLens 2
Microsoft The HoloLens 2 could also be a great benefit to mechanics
“For the first time, you’re going to feel what it feels like a touch a hologram, to interact with a hologram and to play with it, almost where you forget that this is a piece of digital content you’re looking at as opposed to it just existing in the real world,” said Microsoft’s Alex Kipman.
Microsoft has more than doubled the field-of-view for HoloLens 2, and says that the 47-pixels-per-degree-of-sight holographic density has been maintained.
There’s also a new time-of-flight depth sensor for more accurate tracking, and built-in AI systems that allow “direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world”, according to Microsoft’s Julia White.
“We are entering a new era of computing, one in which the digital world goes beyond two-dimensional screens and enters the three-dimensional world,” she added.
“This new collaborative computing era will empower us all to achieve more, break boundaries and work together with greater ease and immediacy in 3D.”
Microsoft has also made improvements to the HoloLens’ display engine, and added “eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural”.
Microsoft Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 brings a Minority Report-style future to reality
The HoloLens 2 has also been redesigned to be more comfortable.
Microsoft is promising a “more balanced centre of gravity”, and has integrated strong, light carbon fibre into the body.
The tech giant says that the HoloLens 2 should “comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone”, and a new dial-in fit system makes it “comfortable to wear for hours on end”.
It’s also possible to keep your glasses on while wearing the HoloLens 2, because the goggles can slide right over them.
There’s also a new flip-up visor that lets you quickly un-immerse yourself from the augmented reality world – and return to regular life.
Microsoft Mixed reality lets you simulate absolutely anything in stunning reality
The bad news is that you’ll have to pay an absolute fortune to own a HoloLens 2 headset.
Microsoft is flogging the goggles for $3,500, which works out at about £2,675 with direct currency conversion.
The headset will be available later this year in a small selection of countries, including the UK and USA.
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Facebook is building a pair of AR glasses that can beam virtual friends into your home.
Apple is supposedly working on a pair of AR goggles of its own – with a rumoured 2020 release window.
And The Sun recently revealed a space-age VR “sex helmet” that lets lovers film their bonking sessions in 8K virtual reality.
Would you be tempted by one of these headsets? Let us know in the comments!
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