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Monday, January 26, 2015

Gadget of the Week - Microsoft HoloLens Goggles

Connect Magazine is usually first in bringing you news of brand new gadgets. This we do every Monday, sans bias, commercial influence or needless embellishments. Last week, we highlighted the ground-breaking OnePlus One smartphone which was released for global sales on January 20, 2015.

This week, the spotlight shines on a new gizmo that was announced on Wednesday, January 21 during a Microsoft Windows 10 event.

This is the Microsoft HoloLens, a new wireless, 3D holographic display that packs it own CPU and graphics processors. It is able to sense where you are in a room, it responds to hand gestures and allows you to manipulate the 3D objects (holograms) that are displayed around you.

HoloLens comes with a holographic processing chip that understands your gestures, voice and where you're looking. It can map the world around you and display holograms that appear to be in thin air or on objects that surround you.

The HoloLens concept isn't so new both at Microsoft and in tech circles. I late October 2014, Wired got an exclusive interview with Alex Kipman, the genius behind both Kinect and HoloLens.
Codenamed 'Project Baraboo', Alex worked on HoloLens for over 5 years.

Kipman's views about computing are thus captured at Wired:
..you used to compute on a screen, entering commands on a keyboard. Cyberspace was somewhere else. Computers responded to programs that detailed explicit commands. In the very near future, you’ll compute in the physical world, using voice and gesture to summon data and layer it atop physical objects. Computer programs will be able to digest so much data that they’ll be able to handle far more complex and nuanced situations. Cyberspace will be all around you.
What will this look like? Well, holograms.

Where is stands out

Unlike what we see in the movies, the 3D images produced by HoloLens will only be viewable by the person wearing the Goggles.

Unlike others such as Oculus Rift VR, HoloLens doesnt transport you into a different world. It instead brings the computing experience into the world you're already in.

Expert Reviews

CNET has a fantastic article that comprehensively explains HoloLens and highlights the differences it has when stacked against similar products and software related software applications. It says:
Microsoft's HoloLens, which the company unveiled at its Redmond, headquarters, is a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses. You can see the world around you, but suddenly that world is transformed -- with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and your living room covered in virtual characters running amok.

The device has a plethora of sensors to sense your movements in a room and it uses this information along with layers of colored glass to create images you can interact with or investigate from different angles.

From Wired, the exact way HoloLens works is revealed:
Project HoloLens’ key achievement—realistic holograms—works by tricking your brain into seeing light as matter. “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,” Kipman explains. “If I could magically turn the debugger on, we’d see photons bouncing throughout this world. Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is. You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see.”

To create Project HoloLens’ images, light particles bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device. Then the photons enter the goggles’ two lenses, where they ricochet between layers of blue, green and red glass before they reach the back of your eye. “When you get the light to be at the exact angle,” Kipman tells me, “that’s where all the magic comes in.”

The Tech News World site is full outlines major expectations, that point to excitement in light of what HoloLens will make possible.

Billed as a new way to interact with technology and the world around us at once, it overlays holograms onto what wearers see in front of them. They might, for instance, play a version of Minecraft that's constructed across a kitchen table and chairs, or have a Skype conversation with a screen seemingly hovering in front of them as they stroll across the floor. It is blisteringly impressive.

HoloLens seems at once fantastical and feasible in the current landscape. That someone can look at what I'm seeing from an ocean away through a tablet, doodle on the screen, and then let me see it as a hologram is enormously exciting.

User Opinions

This is a yet to be launched gadget, so no users have had a chance to test it and share their thoughts yet.

Pricing and Availability

No pricing information was revealed during the Windows 10 event. Neither has Microsoft announced when the HoloLens will be availed to consumers.

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