Mixed reality on HoloLens 2 combines an untethered device with apps and solutions that help people across a business learn, communicate and collaborate more effectively. It's the culmination of breakthroughs in hardware design, artificial intelligence and mixed reality development from Microsoft, designed to help lead industry into the future. HoloLens 2 offers the most comfortable, and immersive, mixed reality experience available today.
At its core, HoloLens 2 is a human-centered device. This means that the technology melts away – there's no barrier between you and the device – and you instinctively know how to use it.
That's because we found, through a vast amount of customer feedback and user research, that hardware design and software UX can't live independently if you're creating a device and experiences that are human-centered.
Mixed reality should feel like a true merging of the digital and physical worlds. HoloLens 2 pushes the limits of these experiences. And it does so thanks to improved comfort and deeper immersion.
Our long-term vision is a device, and platform, that understands and shows empathy for your environment. In service of this goal, all the innovation – both technology and form factor – helps you sense, and communicate with, the world around you.
With HoloLens, we were pioneers. Our initial ambition was to create a wearable holographic. But for this second generation, we fundamentally changed the product, redesigning the architecture to support all the improvements described in this submission.
We pivoted around "front line" workers. They need a device that keeps them "heads up, hands free." A device that gets out of their way. And one that they can wear comfortably, for hours.
This meant revisiting everything for HoloLens 2.
The result is a more immersive device that's 3x more comfortable. And truly, a product that revolutionizes the work of those on the front lines of business.
Getting there was quite a journey.
We began by rethinking how we design. Due to its tactile nature, we built, tested, and iterated hundreds ofprototypes with teams across design, engineering, human factors and prototyping. Thus, HoloLens 2 is a huge leap forward in fusing hardware and digital design.
The goal was to ensure that the recedes into the background to bring interaction, the holograms and the tasks forward. To achieve this, for both software and hardware, we constantly iterated, tested, refined and tried many different solutions to get to where we are today.
Throughout, we were guided by four principles:
1- Human-centered experiences
2- Instinctual interactions
3- Reduced the learning curve
4- Making the digital feel real
HoloLens 2 breaks new ground in design on four fronts. It is:
HoloLens 2 can be worn longer, and more comfortably, with a weight-balanced fit system designed for extended use. The wearer can keep their glasses on, as the headset slides right over them. When it's time to switch tasks, they can flip the visor up to step out of mixed reality.
A wearer can see more holograms at once through the greatly increased field of view. They can also read text, and see intricate details of 3D images, more easily, and comfortably, with industry-leading resolution.
Users can directly manipulate (touch, grasp and move) holograms in ways that feel natural – so that they respond a lot like real objects. They log in to HoloLens 2 instantly, and securely, using just iris recognition with Windows Hello. And voice commands work even in noisy industrial environments through smart microphones and natural language speech processing.
Users move freely, with no wires or external packs to get in their way. The HoloLens 2 headset is a self-contained computer with Wi-Fi connectivity, which means that everything the wearer needs goes with them while they work.
BENEFIT TO USERS
The results are beyond gratifying. Computing is no longer confined to screens. And we've seen just a glimpse of this bright future. Here are just a few examples:
Transforming operating rooms with safer, far less invasive, procedures – and eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries.
Reducing the diagnostic time it takes automotive clients to fix a vehicle. One employee exclaimed, "Damn, I feel like Tony Stark!" experiencing "heads up, hands free" for the first time.
Advancing academia thanks to holographic professors lecturing from the other side of the world (in a foreign language, no less).
Elevating the airline industry with more efficient design and safer flights.
Improving knowledge retention, and raising test scores, for university medical students.
Building spacecraft faster and more efficiently. Thanks to HoloLens 2, aeronautic workers are saving significant sums by assembling the spacecraft more accurately and efficiently, adding up to millions of dollars in savings.
Instilling "superpowers" as a leader at a top logistics company claims that, thanks to HoloLens, she's learning faster, retaining more and feeling more confident about her future.
All these collaborations reduce our carbon footprint while increasing our global impact.
BENEFIT TO SOCIETY
We're at the point where the very tools that been so prominent in helping us connect, must take a step back. So that humans, not devices, are at the center.
To do so, we've given HoloLens 2 windows into our world. Eyes, in the form of cameras. Ears, in the form of mic arrays. And intelligence, by connecting everything to the cloud.
We're giving it the senses it needs to better understand the world – and all the people, and things, within it. As it does, it will begin to fade into the background and put people first, so that technology feels like anything but.
With HoloLens 2, computing is no longer confined to screens. This changes the way we see the world, and in turn, changes the world we see.
It encourages us to explore, and break new ground. It gives depth, and breadth, to our understanding. And helps us to see perspectives outside our own.
It stirs the indestructible sense of wonder inside each of us. And with it, the aspiration to share a world far greater than ourselves. Because together, our dreams become reality.
The aesthetics of HoloLens 2 are derived from functionality. Our highest priorities were comfort and ease to use.
To make it comfortable, we made it weight-balanced to closely match the center of gravity of the human head. We used a split architecture, with compute and batteries at the back of the head – and optics and sensors at the front.
In addition, the flexible and micro textured back pad provides a sure fit – but doesn't pull hair.
The visor flips up out of the way, for eye contact and more fluid social interactions.
The fit system ensures that after first fitting, it's easy to put on and take off – just like a baseball cap.
The buttons – for volume, brightness and power – are easy to find and intuitive to use.
There are three of note:
1- Carbon fiber front enclosure achieving a light weight and rigid, thermally stable front enclosure
2- Fabric and foam fit system for increased comfort and wear-ability
3- Silicone over-molded polycarbonate headband for flexibility and comfort across diverse user populations
IT ALL ADDS UP TO:
Collaborations that bring people together, bridging both time and space.
But what we see next will stretch the imagination. This is the reality we're working towards.
A world without screens. A world where technology enhances, not limits, humanity.
In the end, it won't be the rise of the machines. But instead, the elevation of humans.