2015 was an incredible year for virtual reality. With the likes of Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR emerging into the spotlight, it seems that everyone is taking a shot at unlocking the next level of reality perception. All of these virtual reality devices have immense possibilities and certainly have their own place in the future of enhanced reality, but Microsoft intends to do something entirely different with their HoloLens project.
Where VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift often provide the user with their own virtual world to play in, HoloLens is designed to create an ‘Augmented Reality’. What the user will experience should be a seamless coexistence between the real world and computer generated images. These ‘Holograms’ will not just overlay the user’s own vision, they can interact with real life geometry and become part of the world we live in. The wearer could watch a live concert in their living room or build cities on their coffee table.
Where the previously mentioned VR headsets will champion in the gaming and educational sector by immersing the user in a virtual reality, HoloLens will use its own strength (reality itself) to become part of everyone’s day to day life. It’s quite clear to see that HoloLens is aimed at an entirely different market to that of the gaming headsets such as Sony PlayStation VR which is a dedicated gaming/media device. Potential uses have ranged from the trivial “Human Pong” gameplay to extraordinary diagnostic concepts using MRI Holograms. Microsoft have even set up their own online community where anyone can post their own concepts and suggestions.
Where augmented reality lies in the creative industry is still far from decided, but it is not hard to imagine a world where today’s sketches are tomorrow’s holograms and ideas are no longer explained with words, they can be interacted with and experienced in real time.