Microsoft HoloLens 2 Augments Reality Again

first_img 1/7Windows 10 apps appear as flat holographic windows, either floating in the air or fixed to surfaces. 1/7You can Skype on the HoloLens, which projects a window of whoever you’re calling in front of you, and shows the other person your augmented view. 1/7One app, HoloPlanner, lets you see how furniture would look in your workspace. It’s very limited. 1/7HoloStudio lets you build your own holographic dioramas. 1/7Fragments is a detective game that uses the HoloLens like the augmented reality glasses in Heavy Rain. 1/7Galaxy Explorer projects a simple view of the galaxy and the Solar System in the middle of you room. 1/7RIP Holorambe VR gets most of the attention when it comes to strapping futuristic displays to your face, but I still think AR, augmented reality, is actually the future for this kind of tech. And not just because of Pokemon Go. Creating an entire virtual world from scratch requires a lot of potentially sickening heavy lifting. But adding some artificial enhancements to the world you’re already looking at sounds way more feasible. Plus you can still actually see where you are going!Three years ago we got a taste of how potentially cool that kind of AR could be with Microsoft HoloLens, a headset the filled your field of view with all sorts of holograms and windows. It was the real mixed reality product (at least for developers) that Google Glass wanted to be. And now it’s back with HoloLens 2, now coming this September according to a new report on Reuters.Announced at Mobile World Congress, the $3,500 Microsoft HoloLens 2 is still more of a niche enterprise product than something for consumers. But the upgrades it offers seem so cool that you may want to bug your business about it. The wider field of view allows you to see more holograms at once. So if you’re working on an assembly line you can pull up more instructions or even video conferencing windows in your peripheral vision. It’s more physically varied too, comfortably fitting different head (and hair) shapes along with providing optional hard hat protection.AdChoices广告Unlike high-end VR headsets connected to PCs, HoloLens 2 has to be a powerful standalone Windows product. It gets there with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor, connections over USB-C and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5, two 2K 3:2 Microsoft MEMS screens, an 8-megapixel camera, and a space-scanning Kinect sensor. Finally, Microsoft hardware not ruined by Kinect.But the hardware is only useful if there’s a robust AR software library for users to enjoy. At MWC Tim Sweeney of Epic Games suggested AR support for the Unreal Engine (AR Fortnite?) while Microsoft itself is keeping the API open to encourage free experimentation from developers. They just want you to get jazzed about their Microsoft Azure cloud services, which HoloLens 2 uses to “stream high-polygon content” and collaborate across devices.That said, there is a dark side to improved augmented reality. Apparently HoloLens 2 is just one of the perks Microsoft is offering the United States Army as part of  a recent contract worth nearly half a billion dollars. And some of Microsoft’s own employees are now protesting the weapons partnership. This was disappointing when Microsoft worked with ICE and it’s disappointing now. HoloLens shouldn’t be used to aid the business of perpetual war.Harambe may be dead but augmented reality lives with Microsoft HoloLens 2. Look back on the original HoloLens to see how it can both give you some dignity and make you look like a creepy dork. Review: ‘Gears 5’ Brings a Fresh Perspective to the FranchiseToy Tuesday: The Best ‘Gears of War’ Toys <> Stay on targetlast_img read more