Filed Under:  U.S. & World

Microsoft unveils holographic computer

Contributed by on January 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond WashingtonREDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft may lag behind the competition when it comes to mobile technology, but now the company is trying to get ahead of the pack in a brand-new field: holographic computers.


On Wednesday, Microsoft allowed a select group of journalists to test a prototype of a Windows 10-based holographic computer. Called HoloLens, it’s comprised of high-definition lenses, advanced sensors and spatial sound, all run on a Holographic Processing Unit, or HPU.


Edward C. Baig of USA Today, one of the journalists who got a sneak peak, says that what he saw convinced him that science fiction is about to become reality.


Baig says you control the HoloLens through head movements, voice commands, and a gesture called an “Airtap,” which involves making a fist and then raising and lowering your index finger.


More importantly, the world you interact with appears in the real world. It’s as if the virtual world is overlaid on the physical world.


In fact, that’s what makes HoloLens different from virtual reality devices such as Glass and Oculus, says Microsoft. Users of VR become immersed their virtual world. HoloLens, on the other hand, allows you to see the real world and the virtual world simultaneously.


Holograms, in other words, are like all other objects, except that they’re made entirely of light rather than physical matter.


That means that when Haig and his fellow testers played a holographic version of Minecraft, they threw virtual characters into holes they dug on real couches. They also blew virtual holes through real walls. Think of doing that to your living room wall. A cathartic experience, no doubt.


Apparently you can also explore the surface of mars as well as build and design 3-D objects that you can later bring to life using 3-D printers.


Although the prototype involved a large, heavy contraption and a complicated process of calibrating the eyewear based on the distance of the wearer’s pupils, the final product will supposedly be easier to wear and to use, not to mention free of cumbersome wires.


There’s no word yet on when it will be available or how much it will set you back, but if this goes big, and it might, developers around the world could soon be building apps designed specifically for holographic technology platforms.