Microsoft shocked the tech world with the January announcement of HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that projects holograms onto its lenses to mimic the sensation of them being real objects in your world. And now we’ve seen much, much more of it.
At the Build 2015 conference yesterday, Microsoft wooed developers with a lengthy on-stage keynote demonstration of the hardware, which showed off much more functionality - including how Windows apps fit into your surroundings, and other more specialized uses of the technology.
In a mocked-up flat, we saw a man watching a video in a window that he could resize at will and even have follow him around the room. He could place permanent app windows in his space - like a Skype window against a wall - and have 3D apps (like a weather app) sitting on end tables.
We also saw a live demonstration of an anatomy app that lets students interact with detailed 3D models of the human body and enlarged body parts, to enhance learning, as well as saw a video of HoloLens being used for architecture needs. And then a woman demonstrated how a simple homemade physical robot could be overlaid with an animated, digital version, complete with a floating UI that lets you tweak its appearance and behaviour.
Microsoft affirmed that HoloLens is completely wireless and requires no connection to a computer, phone, or other “brain” device to function, and the apps shown were Universal Windows apps - which means the version on your PC or smartphone shares code with the HoloLens experience, thus making it easier for developers to support numerous devices.
All told, Microsoft wowed again with the latest HoloLens demo, showing off the inventive potential of the device for enriching our daily lives and potentially transforming business, education, and other pursuits. Hundreds of demo units are available for Build attendees, with classes and workshops to get developers onboard in time to get a wide array of apps ready for the eventual release.
If you didn't have a chance to see it live, it's well worth watching that part of the saved livestream - it's the last 20 minutes or so, and it's rather impressive.