Samsung and Google may have gotten the ball rolling with Gear VR and Cardboard, but head-mounted 3D isn’t done there; at today’s Windows 10 event, Microsoft announced its next-gen augmented reality system, Windows Holographic.
The hugely ambitious project will draw on APIs introduced in Windows 10 to give developers the tools they need to allow users to interact with virtual displays that seem to seamlessly blend into the world around them.
Of course, you need some advanced hardware to pull of a feat like that, and for this Microsoft has its own HMD, the Microsoft HoloLens wearable computer.
The hardware is a self-contained system, not relying on an external phone or PC. It’s got its own CPU, GPU, and a custom “holographic” processor. Images will be displayed on a translucent visor, letting HoloLens overlay its output on your visual field.
Microsoft’s demonstration of the Windows Holographic interface shows how HoloLens is able to track a user’s hands in real time, allowing them to interact with its “holograms” without the need for dedicated input hardware. Voice command allows for even finer-grained input.
Sound like something out of a sci-fi movie? You’re not too far off, and Microsoft’s been with working with none other than NASA on developing HoloLens software and its Windows Holographic tech.
Looks awesome, right? So what’s it going to cost? Microsoft is being tight-lipped, but claims that HoloLens will be priced to be accessible by both enterprise and consumer users.