New Equipment: HoloLens

HoloLensIn addition to the Oculus Rift (CV1), the DiVE has recently acquired the Microsoft HoloLens. The HoloLens is a device that provides a mixed reality experience.

Mixed reality is different from virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality offers a completely immersive experience; when a virtual reality user looks around a virtual reality world, their view is adjusted as it would be in the real world. The user’s brain is convinced that it’s somewhere it’s not. Augmented reality adds digital information on top of the user’s view of the real world.

Mixed reality is a blend between the real and the virtual world; it combines virtual reality and augmented reality. It allows virtual objects to coexist with real objects. It appoints virtual objects to a position in space so that they may interact in a way similar to real objects with other virtual objects, real objects, and the user. For example, from the perspective of the person wearing mixed reality lenses, a virtual ball could be hidden under a real table. To read more about the differences between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, visit Recode’s article called “Choose Your Reality: Virtual, Augmented or Mixed.”

Microsoft describes the HoloLens as “the first fully self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high-definition holograms in your world.” It allows the user to experience a mixed reality world, allowing the virtual to coexist with the real. It opens new opportunities for collaboration and creativity that virtual reality and augmented reality don’t provide.

The HoloLens enables users to use their hands to work on a virtual object and to see their hands at work. Additionally, other users are able to collaborate on the object, whether they are physically present in the actual location or not.

The HoloLens employs a Holographic Processing Unit (HPU)—made of custom silicon—that processes data coming from sensors at an extremely high speed. There are many sensors on the product, which each require Windows 10—which includes the Windows holographic mixed reality platform—to read them correctly and in real time. Holographic, HD lenses create multi-dimensional, color images with low latency through advanced optical projection. The audio components have the duty of knowing where the head is so that the brain knows there is something real there.

Due to the new opportunities that mixed reality provides surrounding creation and collaboration, there are a variety of opportunities that the HoloLens provides surrounding research, business, and science. The DiVE is excited to take advantage of this new technology.

For more information on mixed reality and the Windows HoloLens, explore Microsoft’s page about the HoloLens.