We’ve had real-life hoverboards, invisibility cloaks and now holographic projection is set to make the transition from science fiction to easily attainable science fact, courtesy of Microsoft.
We’ve all seen the tech in use for big budget entertainment purposes. The Star Wars movie franchise, and ‘live’ performances by musicians like Gorillaz and the late 2Pac have all used holographic technology to place virtual 3D objects in the real world, and now Microsoft’s is breaking down how it pl keynote broke down its approach to bringing this tech to the masses.
Microsoft invited the world to “Come create holograms with us” using Windows Holographic: a new set of APIs baked into the forthcoming release of Windows 10 that includes modelling and even 3D printing capabilities.
In a roundabout way the futuristic eyewear Microsoft produced on stage is the company’s answer to the likes of Google Glass, but it serves a wholly different purpose. The Windows HoloLens is a self-contained wearable computer with a holographic display the sits over your normal field of vision, transforming you into a real-life Geordi La Forge.
Along with a CPU and GPU, Microsoft gave this new piece of hardware what it calls an HPU or Holographic Processing Unit, designed to understand voice commands, audio cues, gesture input and spatial information. Unlike other VR experiences, however, there’s no external head tracking equipment or specialised cameras, the HoloLens system can figure out where it is in relative space and where the user is looking on its own.
Naturally, hardware is only as good as its accompanying software and, whilst we’re not sure if this will form part of the native Windows 10 experience, Windows HoloStudio will allow users the ability to create holograms. Depending on their purpose, size and complexity, it’ll also 3D-print them as well. We saw a drone go from holographic concept to creation using the HoloStudio tools. Whilst it was obviously a controlled demo, the user experience looks wondrously simple to use.
The potential for holographic technology may have just received the biggest push in the history of its existence. If developers have easily accessible tools and companies get on board with supporting the capabilities of Windows Holographic then we could see a dramatic shift in the way we go about our daily lives, from browsing the Internet, to creating art to performing medical procedures.
Bring on the future.
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