The possibility to superimpose the real physical world and the virtual world created by computers has been viewed, for a long time, as a technology looking for a killer application.
The fact is that, until now, the technology was incipient and the user experience less than perfect. Microsoft is trying to change that, with their new product, Microsoft HoloLens. As of April this year, Microsoft is shipping the pre-production version of HoloLens, for developers.
The basic idea is that, by using HoloLens, computer generated objects can be superimposed with actual physical objects. Instead of using the “desktop” metaphor, users will be able to deploy applications in actual physical space. Non-holographic applications run as floating virtual screens that will stick to a specific point in the physical space or move with the user. Holographic enabled applications will let you to use the physical space for virtual objects as you would for physical objects. For instance, if you leave a report, say, on top of a desk, it will stay there until you pick it up.
The HoloLens, a self-contained computer weighting 580 grams, is powered by a 32-bit Intel Atom processor and Microsoft’s custom Holographic Processing Unit (HPU).
The following YouTube video, made available by Microsoft, gives some idea of what the product may become, once sufficiently powerful applications are developed.
Image and video credits: Microsoft HoloLens website.