Microsoft Shows Off “Wearable” Holograms With HoloLens

Image courtesy of "Hello ladies... pay no attention to my awesome holographic wrist laser."

"Hello ladies... pay no attention to my awesome holographic wrist laser."

“Hello ladies… pay no attention to my awesome holographic wrist laser.”

While Sony, Samsung, Valve, the Facebook-owned Oculus, and many others are readying to unleash virtual reality headsets in the coming months, Microsoft is continuing to bank on HoloLens, an augmented reality device that brings holograms into your personal space.

At this morning’s press event to show off new Microsoft-developed devices, the company led with the latest demo of its highly anticipated HoloLens, which it believes has applications from everything from engineering through entertainment.

Of course, since looking at 3D holograms of prototype engine parts isn’t exactly thrilling for a 10 a.m. audience, Microsoft chose instead to demo something it calls Project XRAY, a game that the company says turns any room into an alien invasion site and creates a “wearable” hologram around the user’s arm that moves with the user and which can be interacted with.

In the game demo, invaders crack through the room’s existing walls and try to attack the user. It’s a pretty simple idea, but Microsoft says the HoloLens maps your room completely so that it knows where the walls and furniture are.


So not only do the holographic attackers interact with the layout of the room, it means that each room results in a different, customized experience for the user.

One issue that both VR and HoloLens share is that you may look like a complete fool to those who can’t see the same things you’re seeing:

Perhaps the most promising aspect of HoloLens is that Microsoft says it is totally un-tethered to other devices. No need to attach a phone or computer. That’s very different from virtually reality headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, which requires specific Samsung phones to work, or the PlayStation VR that will need a PS4 to function (but will reportedly cost about as much as a new console), or other headsets that will need high-powered PCs to fully enjoy.

While this is all pretty interesting, the HoloLens is still some time off from being available for consumers. The good news is that Microsoft announced today that it will soon begin accepting applications for HoloLens development kits that will cost $3,000 and ship out in the first quarter of 2016.


Still no word on when consumers will be able to purchase the HoloLens or what sort of price Microsoft will charge for the device.

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