Microsoft has revealed an updated version of its HoloLens headset at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.
The tech giant’s new headset is built from carbon fibre and is called HoloLens 2.
Like the original, which was released three years ago, HoloLens 2 creates what Microsoft calls ‘mixed reality’. Which basically overlays computerised images onto the real world. So you could be looking at a car or motorcycle in order to make some repairs and have the instructions projected directly onto it.
Microsoft’s new, carbon fibre HoloLens 2 (Microsoft)As well as improving the field-of-view and comfort on this new headset, Microsoft added what it calls ‘instinctual interaction’ – which basically means you can ‘touch’ the holograms.
In a live demonstration, Microsoft showed how the headset recognises your hands and lets you manipulate the holograms by resizing or rotating them. Likewise, you can flip virtual switches or move virtual sliders.
‘For the first time, you’re going to feel what it feels like to 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 Alex Kipman, technical fellow in Microsoft’s Cloud and AI group.
At $3,500, this Minority Report-style gadget is expensive. And it’s only being sold to corporations and organisations – it’s not for individuals.
Engineers could use HoloLens 2 in their daily work (Microsoft)In its briefing, Microsoft showed it being used to train surgeons as well as helping toy designers use it to create new products.
(This stuff is huge. HoloLens 2 is weaving deep into real businesses and industries. Custom hardware, Azure, collaboration. This isn’t theoretical stuff. Microsoft turned this into a business that will only grow. Apple and Google? Not so much yet.)
— Daniel Rubino (@Daniel_Rubino) February 24, 2019
It also showed off a HoloLens program called Spatial that allows members of a company to interact and collaborate with each other in holographic form.
Microsoft is clearly going all in on Mixed Reality for businesses and companies. The company has confirmed it expects a follow-up headset that’s even better in the next couple of years. One day, we could all be working inside our own versions of Minority Report.
‘We put our hearts, bodies, souls and all our waking hours into creating this vision and bringing it into practice,’ Kipman said.
‘This is now the moment where we get to see how this technology empowers our customers to compete, to digitally transform, to achieve something they weren’t able to achieve before, to do something that we’ve never imagined. All of those things I’m excited about.’