Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, as well as their Kinect cameras, are more likely known for their gaming and entertainment capabilities more than anything. The company unveiled the two new devices at the Mobile World Congress, and iis aiming to change their perception as they focus on the new HoloLens 2 and Azure Kinect and their capabilities to help large-scale businesses.
The HoloLens 2
The original HoloLens was memorable for showing off how you can play Minecraft in a whole new way, but one of its biggest shortcomings was the narrow field of vision, being restricted to a letterbox view. Right of the gate, the HoloLens 2 is already offering double the field of vision, while still maintaining the 47 pixels per degree of sight. There’s also a new “time-of-flight” depth sensor that allows the device your hands on the fly, allowing you to execute and control things without a physical controller.
Enterprises and businesses are the core audience for the HoloLens 2 for now, with companies like AirBus, Honeywell, Pearson, and Saab already working with Microsoft to launch software on the system. Microsoft is also emphasising on how the HoloLens 2 can be customised to suit each business before purchase, with a hard hat hybrid model being used by Trimble, the company behind SketchUp.
HoloLens 2 will be launched later in the year with a price of USD $3,500, or about MYR 14,500. The headset is confirmed to be sold in the US, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand.
While the previous Kinect model didn’t make quite a splash as a gaming and entertainment device, this new Azure Kinect will help businesses in all sorts of ways. Fully equipped with a 1-megapixel depth camera, 360-degree 7-microphone circular array, 12MP RGB camera, and an orientation sensor for "building advanced computer vision and speech models", it is definitely a step up from the ones we used to play Kinect Sports 2.
A company known as AVA Retail has tried out the Azure Kinect for their self-checkout services, providing customers with an easy grab-and-go shopping experience. At less than 5 inches long and 1.5 inches thin, the Azure Kinect is a small handy device that’s easily installed anywhere. It will retail for USD $399, just about MYR 1,700, and interested parties can pre-order it today.
Overall, Microsoft is not slowing down on their innovations in virtual and augmented realities, mixing the two for leisure and business. We hope to see more innovations from Microsoft as the year goes on.