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Microsoft: HoloLens is ‘something different’ to AR and VR

Last week saw the biggest technology reveal of 2015 thus far as Microsoft announced HoloLens, a new see-through head-mounted display (HMD) that projects holograms into real life environments. The company’s reveal has lead to discussion about just how to label the technology, as it avoided using the most obvious term, augmented reality (AR). However is seems as if Microsoft considers HoloLens to be ‘something different’ from both AR and indeed virtual reality (VR) too, if a recent statement from a company spokesperson is to be believed.

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“Today’s efforts in VR and AR are truly exciting,” a Microsoft representative told Gamespot. “What we are talking about is something different.

“Holographic experiences on Windows are about delivering a mixed reality of both your digital world and your real world. We are integrating holograms into the world around you–transforming the ways you create, connect, and explore. We hope holographic experiences on Windows 10 will help drive continued innovation in this category.”

Many have labelled HoloLens are AR since its reveal but Microsoft is clearly hoping to distance itself from the term. HoloLens consists of three on-board processors that help render virtual objects that players can manipulate using their hands. So far the company has showcased an application in which users build their own objects that can be 3D printed. In terms of videogames, the popular Minecraft series has been adapted to take advantage of the technology, with players bringing up the series iconic landscape in the middle of their living room.

Currently there isn’t any release information on HoloLens or officially commented on support for the Xbox One console, though its compatibility with Windows 10 devices suggests that it will support the machine. Microsoft has said that, in terms of pricing, the technology’s cost will appeal to both consumers and enterprises. VRFocus will continue to follow the technology closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.

  1. This is an apples to oranges comparison of devices. Oculus and other VR goggles want to create an immersion experience, effectively blocking out the real world. HoloLens wants to combine real world with virtual objects. It could have some interesting features and uses, but this is a lot like Google glass, and one of the problems I see is that you will have to wear the lens. With VR Googles you want to block out the real world to be in the Virtual world. This by its nature will be done mostly when you are alone, even if playing a multiplayer game I doubt you will see four or five people siting in a room with Goggles on. However, The HoloLens, wants to keep in you the real world interacting with it and the virtual objects, just like people complaining about 3d Glasses I think there will be a lot of resistance towards this. It may find a place in future tech, but I doubt it will be in competition with Oculus or other VR devices.

    1. It’s a new technology. You can expect it to be bulky to begin with. Remember TI calculators or cell phones of the 1990’s. Or cameras of the 70’s or the late 1800’s. HoloLens is new (and encouraged by Minecraft), so it’ll have an immediate cult following. The more it sells, the lower the price and the more the product slims and resembles what we expect out of it.

  2. Bet they are going to call it MR instead of AR or VR. Not just because it could mean “Microsoft Reality” but because the term they mention “Mixed Reality” is already used by similar devices, like that made by Canon (at a cost of about $50K)

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