‘The Future of AR is now’ is a series of blog posts in which four big companies that are developing AR wearables and technologies are aligned in a comparative research.
Several companies have been actively developing AR technology and have been thinking about how this technology will change the world around us. Which company’s vision and technology is the most appealing and which one has the most potential? This time: Microsoft’s Hololens.
Microsoft first unveiled their Hololens at a Windows 10 event at the beginning of 2015. The company claims their Hololens device will be the next PC and will focus on showing hologram-like content (that is, Augmented Reality). We watched a TED Talk where the Hololens was presented by Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow at Microsoft. In the video he explained how Microsoft’s AR use is focused on connecting with others and people coming closer using their technology. He also mentioned the possibilities to use AR tools to enhance human activity. Admirable visions with great potential!
Beautiful yet misleading (for now)
Kipman’s demonstration of the Hololens was insanely beautiful. Maybe even too beautiful. He got surrounded by fairy-like surroundings and stunning 3D objects, but we didn’t get a single view directly from the Hololens itself. An additional camera moved around Kipman and supposedly showed us what Kipman was seeing. Again, it looked gorgeous, but many things looked like they were staged and added post-production.
(Footage of the TED Talk and the demonstration of the Hololens. Source: Youtube/TED/Microsoft)
There are many other resources which have spoken about the misleading images the Hololens’ marketing team is putting out there. The comparison of the “ludicrous expectations that Microsoft’s marketing is putting out there” vs. the actual view through the Hololens has been the subject of much debate already.
Still, we think the marketing images are misleading for now. Sure, the beautifully detailed world Kipman was surrounded by during his talk can’t be displayed by the Hololens yet, but what AR wearable can display it in such quality already? Graphic development is going fast, really fast, and it will only be a matter of time before the Hololens can actually show such detailed objects.
An actual demonstration
Dutch television program De Wereld Draait Door featured the Hololens in a broadcast in May this year and showed an accurate image of how the Hololens places objects in reality. The field of view in this broadcast looked quite wide (in contrast to negative reviews about the small field of view) and we were sincerely impressed by the steadiness of the objects that were placed in reality.
(Dennis Vroegop demonstrates how he places an astronaut in the DWDD studio using the Hololens. Source: De Wereld Draait Door)
Future Growth Potential
The Hololens has great future growth potential. It’s always easy to be skeptical about one of the first hardware developments of some kind, but it’s a talent to scout possibilities. It may look like the Hololens’ marketing team is overdoing it, but we believe they are already preparing us for a world in which all of the things they are showing will become possible – and natural.
Besides that, their vision to bring people together with technology sounds appealing, since so many news items these days are speaking of the antisocial behavior caused by technology and social media. A hardware development that still needs improvement, but has a promising (not so distant) future.