Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, holographic computer, enabling you to view, place, and interact with holograms in your physical environment. Rather than trying to block you from the reality, it embeds your most valuable applications into the world around you. HoloLens has more computing power than the average laptop, but with no wires – remarkable, given it's packed with multiple sensors; speakers; a custom Holographic Processing Unit; integrated cooling; batteries, and a high-definition, stereoscopic, 3D optical head-mounted display. Its spherical visor uses infrared light to dimensionally track hand gestures and the room around you. It understands where you're looking. It recognizes your voice commands, your body movements, and gestures, and is able to spatially map your surroundings. HoloLens can be operated using purely natural user interfaces – gaze, voice, and hand gestures. The curved visor, which adjusts to a range of head sizes, was designed with high quality hologram viewing, peripheral vision, and comfort in mind. The HoloLens headband was made to feel like a performance car – perfectly balanced using premium materials to provide comfort during use.
The dream takes shape
Before HoloLens the product took shape, it began as a notion – a dream of finding a way to break down the walls between people and technology. The HoloLens team had a vision of creating a vivid, immersive computing experience to seamlessly integrate and overlay technology in your world, but one that didn't require cutting you off from reality.
The team was faced with the immense challenge of bringing together many intricate technologies into a single, seamless mixed-reality – many pieces into one, simple form factor.
Inventing and building such an experience from scratch was a beast. The effort required years of persistence from a tight, tenacious, multi-disciplinary team of designers and engineers from around the world – industrial design, human factors and engineering. With no precedent, their process became an epic journey of new ideas and explorations, tests and failures and, ultimately, the amazing breakthroughs necessary to make HoloLens a reality. HoloLens could only have been created by a deeply integrated approach, yet this kind of approach also demanded an unprecedented level of collaboration and doggedness from each person and discipline on the team. Ultimately, they persevered.
The resulting product is a masterful blend of industrial design and engineering, deep human and environmental understanding, powerful Windows 10 software and revolutionary hardware.
The Microsoft Industrial Design team's mission was to marry next-generation computing and approachable design. HoloLens was designed to hide tremendous complexity in a sleek enclosure, hiding a deep system of sensors behind a spherical visor that uses infrared (IR) light to dimensionally track hand gestures and the room around you.
The optics can be moved further away from the face to allow for use with glasses without twisting or racking, thanks to a hidden timing mechanism within the headband to ensure symmetrical adjustment. Inside the visor's front enclosure? A fully powered PC to allow holograms to come to life.
Along with being light, untethered and packed with computing power, the HoloLens was designed for comfort. One of the first things the team explored was the human head, as everyone has a different shape and circumference – they conducted 3D scans of 100 different craniums. As a result, the HoloLens headband is made to feel like a performance car, components thoughtfully placed so the device's weight is balanced around the crown of the head to avoid putting undue pressure on the ears or bridge of the nose. The headband can be adjusted for a range of head sizes, but also to accommodate things like eyeglasses and ponytails.
After evaluating hundreds of form factors and designs, the team envisioned the ultimate solution as an all-in-one, hands-free device that was untethered, with built-in batteries and floating audio. HoloLens was built from a sphere with the user at its center. The visor's precise curvature allows for high quality hologram viewing while also providing great peripheral vision of the real world around you. Highly stable image placement in your world allows for immersive use without the nausea typically associated with augmented and virtual reality systems.
The enclosure wraps around the user's head to provide great 50/50 weight distribution; it fits everyone's head size and unique shape. The continuous surface is broken-up into zones made of different materials, each achieving specific functions. The end product has a whole lot of technology distributed artfully around the user's head, including a high-definition, stereoscopic, 3D optical head-mounted display; multiple sensors; a custom holographic processing unit; cooling; and batteries distributed around the head.
In keeping with its goal of integrating computing and reality, there are no headphones to block out the world. HoloLens uses floating, spatial sound designed around how the human ear synthesizes sounds and locations so you can not only see, but hear holograms from anywhere in the room.
The immersive audio and visuals, the speech and gesture capabilities, and the power of Windows 10 sing together in perfect harmony, creating an unprecedented platform for possibility. The team believed that the industrial design should not be guided by aesthetic motivations, but by balancing all the competing needs and architecting a form factor that is simple, intuitive and ultimately disappears – one that focuses on making the immersive experience the hero.
Microsoft HoloLens with Windows Holographic understands where you're looking. It recognizes your voice commands, your body movements, and gestures, and is able to spatially map your surroundings. This means you can interact with holograms using nothing but natural user interfaces – gaze, voice, and hand gestures.
A gamer using HoloLens can fight robots breaking through the actual living room walls, dodging as very real-looking lasers fly past their head. An architect or illustrator using HoloLens can design in three dimensions, moving objects from the screen into the real world to visualize and examine. A professor or student using HoloLens can get up close and personal with their area of study like never before, strolling through rock formations on Mars or examining a hologram cross-section of a beating, human heart. Reference video for out of box experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ceCKZTU7t0
Loved the beautiful industrial design and impressed with the development process and deep ambition to create a product for the new category of AR.