Hololens has po­ten­tial ... but for now it’s strictly for busi­ness

Tech Ed­i­tor Adrian Weckler tries out the lat­est aug­mented re­al­ity sys­tem from Mi­crosoft and finds it lim­ited when it comes to con­sumer ap­pli­ca­tions

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Technology -

While mass mar­ket vir­tual re­al­ity sys­tems so far have largely been about con­sumer ap­pli­ca­tions such as gam­ing, aug­mented (or ‘mixed’) re­al­ity sys­tems are be­ing pitched more as in­dus­try-spe­cific tech­nol­ogy.

A case in point is Mi­crosoft’s Hololens. Hav­ing just launched in Ire­land, I got the chance to try the lat­est it­er­a­tion of the head­set.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween ‘vir­tual’ and ‘ aug­mented’ re­al­ity is that, while VR en­closes you com­pletely within its ar­ti­fi­cial world, in AR you can still see your ac­tual en­vi­ron­ment with vir­tual arte­facts over­laid onto it.

So I can con­jure up a dig­i­tal ob­ject and see it placed on the floor in front of me, on a table, or float­ing.

To a lim­ited ex­tent, I can also con­trol that ob­ject us­ing fin­ger ges­tures in front of my head­set.

It’s a very crude ver­sion of what might, in time, re­sem­ble the kind of in­ter­face seen in Hol­ly­wood movies.

For con­sumer ap­pli­ca­tions, the Hololens re­mains se­ri­ously lim­ited be­cause of its highly re­stricted field of view. This con­sists of a mod­est rec­tan­gu­lar field of vi­sion, around which there are no dig­i­tal arte­facts to be seen.

This means you some­times can’t see an en­tire ob­ject if it’s very wide or tall: you have to move your head up, down, left or right to see the edge of some­thing.

That said, once a vir­tual ob­ject is in front of you, you can get closer to it, look un­der it, over it and be­hind it. This means it can still be very use­ful for in­dus­trial or ed­u­ca­tion pur­poses, such as en­gi­neer­ing mod­el­ling, man­u­fac­tur­ing or the study of anatomy.

Some of the cur­rent apps are along these lines and a num­ber of car com­pa­nies are tri­alling the tech­nol­ogy for their de­sign­ers. One firm, Ac­tion Point, is also us­ing the tech­nol­ogy to pitch Hololens ap­pli­ca­tions to com­pa­nies and ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments in Ire­land that might ben­e­fit from it.

Hololens has po­ten­tial far be­yond to­day’s sys­tem pro­jec­tions. But for now, this is strictly for busi­ness.

The Mi­crosoft Hololens costs around £2,700

Mi­crosoft’s Hololens head­set

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.