Can Microsoft cyber glasses change our way of looking at life?
A man nervously walks around a small table, as if something extraordinary was on it. Other people in the room can only see an empty piece of furniture, but in front of the founder of the start-up above the table is just the solar system. He has Microsoft HoloLens glasses on his head that look into this additional virtual reality.
These cyber glasses can display holograms, multimedia content or information in the field of view. Their use is not completely immersed in virtual reality (VR), but instead, experiences augmented reality – exactly the same as the Terminator in the film classic, which with Augmented Reality (AR) read information about its surroundings.
Initially, I was disappointed with the weight and the small field of view. But the sharp image, holograms and application possibilities delighted me
One of the first HoloLens owners said. ” This is the future, ” he says with conviction. But what does this look like? We have tried a developer version costing approximately 3100 dollars.
- Positioning cameras: HoloLens records the user’s position and movements so quickly that there are no delays. Five cameras are responsible for this (next to the position sensors known from smartphones). The front camera measures the room, determining the possible depth of the image. Four external cameras record the surroundings and help the user in spatial orientation. The two-pixel camera in real-time transfers the signal to the computer or saves it.
- Integrated batteries: Small batteries are located on both sides of the speakers. They allow wireless operation for two to three hours. After activating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the working time is shortened. Charging takes place via the MicroUSB connector.
- Speakers: There are two speakers above the ears that do not stick directly to the ears, but open downwards. In this way, depending on the position, spatial acoustics and good sound are created, which enhances the AR effect. Outside sounds are almost inaudible.
VR and AR – differences
When talking about future trends, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are exchanged in the same breath – although both technologies are completely different from each other. The biggest difference is the user experience: with VR glasses, it is optically and acoustically immersed completely in a virtual, experimental 360 degrees computer world and is completely isolated from the outside world.
In Augmented Reality, the user still perceives the outside world, but computer-controlled glasses expand it with virtual content – they can be 3D objects or information displayed.
Without cable and PC
After putting on the glasses, we can see two or three three-dimensional projections. Depending on the application, these could be, for example, robots getting ready to attack, the latest car or the Solar System.
Unlike the VR HoloLens glasses known so far, they do not require a cable connection with a super-powerful computer – the whole technique fits into the compact frame of the glasses, although the word compact is rather a matter of individual feelings of the user. With a weight of 580 grams, HoloLens is not the lightest, but thanks to the additional band the weight is evenly distributed and even longer journeys through augmented reality are possible. However, the fun ends after two, a maximum of three hours, because when the battery needs charging.
Wireless freedom AR
In front of the user’s front, there is a mini PC that sends AR content to two small displays. These, in turn, send an image to four lenses that display the image for both eyes. One could also wish for such a compact construction in VR glasses – without the umbilical cord connecting them to the PC and tangled successive cables, the survival is clearly more intense, and the boundaries between reality and illusion in the field of view quickly disappear.
Although Aman who graduated in physics himself – has recently become intensely acquainted with all the nuances of HoloLens, in his opinion a doctorate in this field is needed to completely understand the operation of glasses. The technology is partly based on the patents of Nokia, a former giant on the mobile phone market, whose division of mobile devices Microsoft took over five years ago.
4 colored lenses: There are four lenses behind the shaded plastic viewfinder. Three optical glass elements (blue, red and green) cover the primary colors, while the fourth is responsible for displaying shades of gray. In this way, when looking through the glasses, the entire color palette is visible. For a hologram to appear in the field of view, two small Full HD displays transfer content to the lenses. The image remains sharp, but the field of view is relatively small. In addition, the colors will be stronger until the market premiere.
Movies on the wall
The fact that HoloLens is based on Windows 10 brings one decisive benefit. ” If applications run on Windows, they also work with glasses, “. But then they are not a 3D image programmed for a lot of work – instead, the illusion sticks to the wall like a poster.
The first practical test has already demonstrated the great potential of HoloLens. When a user views, for example, a YouTube video and wants to see a larger picture, he can zoom in with the appropriate head and finger movements. The viewer then sees it as a movie displayed on a large screen. If it now locks the image, it will stay in the same place even with fast head movements.
So far, the control options are modest – next to the virtual right-click, which, for example, enlarges the image, there is one more hand gesture to open the menu and confirmation of the movement of the head.
Another weak point of the development version is its limited field of view, which corresponds to looking at a 55-inch TV from a distance of two meters. When HoloLens hits the market, it will need a larger projection surface for augmented reality.
In addition, habits require a little pale colors and transparent objects especially in bright ambient lighting. In addition, some users notice disturbing rainbow effects with fast head movements.
The image quality is impeccable – two Full HD displays provide sharp images. At a density of 40 pixels per inch (roughly the same as a 55-inch TV), neither pixel raster nor individual dots can be seen.
A long way to market maturity
HoloLens has enormous potential as an entertainment medium, an additional eye in medicine or a virtual cockpit in modern cars. Tested applications are now running smoothly (60 frames per second) and thus do not cause nausea. However, the road to market maturity is still far away, and the future will belong to HoloLens only when Microsoft offers a lighter model with a larger field of view and at an affordable price.