Microsoft just won technology, and sci-fi has become reality
Wow. Just – wow.
Microsoft has just launched Windows 10, which lots of tech aficionados are salivating over.
But I’ll level with you – I’m not even going to tell you about Windows 10. You can go and read about it on the tech blogs if you want to.
I am too amazed by Microsoft HoloLens to talk about anything else.
Microsoft has fused the virtual and real worlds with what looks like dazzling fluidity.
Words aren’t really going to do this one justice, so just watch the video.
It is AWESOME.
Microsoft HoloLens – Windows Holographic – Official video
UPDATE: Some early reviews of HoloLens…
We’ve been keeping an eye out for reviews of the early prototype of the HoloLens today. Click the links below for more…
WIRED: “[The] prototype is amazing. It amplifies the special powers that Kinect introduced, using a small fraction of the energy”
CNET: “When I blew a chunk out of the bench in front of me to deal with some zombies, the shards of destroyed wood matched the bench perfectly. That was impressive.”
PC Gamer: “It’s by far the best [augmented reality] headset I’ve ever seen, but the view is disappointingly limited, and all the demos I saw were too brief, and too staged, for me to get a feel for everyday use of this headset.”
New York Times: “The HoloLens is wondrous. It blew me away.”
Microsoft’s competitive edge
The edge HoloLens has over (also pretty mind-blowing) virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift is that HoloLens merges the real and virtual worlds (augmented reality).
With HoloLens, your real world is taken into account in the projection of virtual holograms – so we see characters from games bouncing around your (real-world) furniture, and 3D (virtual) creations sitting on top of your (real-world) desk.
Oculus Rift, on the other hand, is an entirely immersive virtual reality experience. You enter the virtual world fully, rather than it being super-imposed on and interacting with your real world.
That means HoloLens could potentially have more applications than Oculus Rift, as you’d be able to wear it while going about your day-to-day life (as the video above demonstrates), whereas Oculus Rift and its kin would offer a more “time-out” dip into a virutal reality world.
And here’s the other exciting thing about HoloLens. If this is, as Microsoft is billing it, the next generation in computing, we could start to see a shift in how we physically interact with our computers over the next couple of years.
We’ve moved from using our hands on mouses, to directly touching the screen – now it looks like we’re going to get a device that reads our hands and bodies flowing around in 3D space, using them just as in real life.
This advancement, of course, isn’t unique to Microsoft or new in this device (after all, Nintendo Wii and other gaming consoles and devices have been doing it for years in various guises).
But the potential for HoloLens to become mainstream in both home and office (as good Microsoft products so often do) means it’s looking much more likely that “full-body” and 3D interaction with a digital device could become the way we all control our computers in the not-too-distant future.
As for Google Glass? Well, sales have stopped for the time-being. But Google has put $542m into Magic Leap, the secretive US company that also focuses on augmented reality.
And don’t think that Apple, Google and Facebook (which owns Oculus VR, maker of Oculus Rift) will just sit back and take this from Microsoft.
The battle has begun for the next evolution of human interaction with computers.
And it’s already looking very exciting from where we’re sitting.
Here are Microsoft execs explaining their strategy and thinking and showing a little more of what you can do with HoloLens, including building 3D objects then printing them off.
Here’s the full run-down of HoloLens from Microsoft.