Microsoft is officially jumping into the head-mounted device game. On Wednesday at their Windows 10 event, Microsoft announced the HoloLens, a pair of goggles that will provide an immersive experience into an augmented reality.
When wearing the glasses, realistic holograms are displayed in your field of vision. This technology is possible because your brain can perceive light as a physical material. With just the right combination of bouncing light at different angles, you’re tricked into believing you’re actually seeing something that is in fact just an illusion.
In addition to the “cool” factor of seeing realistic holograms projected into your world, the device also provides an experience that allows you to interact with what you see. These interactions include response to voice and gestures. To make gesture recognition possible, the headset is able to pick up what your hands are doing when in the field of view of the device’s camera, which has a field of vision of 120 by 120 degrees.
Applications of the HoloLens are far-reaching, and developers will soon have the opportunity to explore ways to use the technology. Microsoft predicts many uses for the device, including (but by no means limited to) video gaming, collaborating on projects, and mechanical repairs.
A current application for the device is a simulation of an exploration on Mars, which was created with the collaboration of Jeff Norris, a NASA rocket scientist. This summer, NASA will begin using the device in-house to help scientists collaborate on missions.
The device is still in the early stages and no official product release date has been announced yet. According to Alex Kipman, the chief inventor for the HoloLens, the headset may be released sometime in the “Windows 10 timeframe.” While a finalized product will not be available for some time, developers could have a prototype in hand by the spring.