Hololens

Hyper - - TECH -

It’s a bit in­ac­cu­rate to in­clude the HoloLens in a fea­ture about VR pe­riph­er­als be­cause it is a) not a VR de­vice, and b) not a pe­riph­eral. It’s a “mixed-re­al­ity” head­set that uses a com­plex and ex­pen­sive ar­ray of cus­tom-made chips, sen­sors, and pro­jec­tors to su­per­im­pose holo­graphic im­ages on the en­vi­ron­ment around you. In­ter­act­ing with pro­jected im­ages is achieved with gaze, voice, and tap com­mands, the lat­ter be­ing the real-world equiv­a­lent of a mouse click.

The po­ten­tial com­mer­cial, artis­tic, and ed­u­ca­tional ap­pli­ca­tions of this tech­nol­ogy are ob­vi­ous and ex­cit­ing, but gam­ing re­mains some­thing of an open ques­tion. The E3 2015 Minecraft demo was an im­pres­sive piece of the­atre but an un­con­vinc­ing demon­stra­tion. It’s one thing to look at the cool 3D hologram pro­jected on your table­top, quite an­other to mean­ing­fully in­ter­act with it – and it’s with the lat­ter that HoloLens ev­i­dently strug­gles. Are you will­ing to pay $3000 for what amounts to a re­ally cool dis­play? Is any­one?

We’ll have to wait and see. Beyond the abil­ity to stream games onto a vir­tual TV, it isn’t clear how the HoloLens will in­ter­act with the Xbox One. What is clear is that, with the Kinect dead and buried, Mi­crosoft needs some­thing to dis­tin­guish the One from its com­peti­tors, and – be­ing the only mixed re­al­ity head­set on the mar­ket – the HoloLens would do just that. Mak­ing it af­ford­able, though? That’s an­other ques­tion al­to­gether.

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