November 25, 2016

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Deciphering HOLOLENS - Glimpse into Mixed reality.

Co-authored by Abhishek Bansal

How amusing would it be if a game was not restricted to your television screen, but covered the entire space and walls of your living room? Not only this, you would be able to interact with the characters of virtual reality video games, play with them, and even change the storyline.

Let’s have a peephole into the future of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) with the help of HoloLens - a new mixed reality headset revealed by Microsoft.

A prerequisite for developing a better understanding of its functioning is becoming familiar with the world of virtual reality through this blog.

Mixed reality just means blending the 3D holographic content into your real world via augmented reality technology, giving you an opportunity to interact with the digital world within your physical space.

The content accesses through holographic displays comprises holograms, which are made up of a combination of sound and light that appear in your natural surroundings as if they are real life objects. These are very responsive to your gaze, gestures, and voice commands. Holograms can assume different shapes, sizes, dimensions, and appearances, which can be realistic, cartoonish, or ghostly. These can be precisely placed at your desired location, or they can follow your movements (even from one room to another), Hologram technology enables personal interactions as well as interactions with your surroundings.

Even with all that we know about HoloLens, it is quite evident that it possesses something of a mystery. Staying true to that, HoloLens has its coprocessor, which is known as a Holographic Processing Unit (HPU), which conducts the integration of the real world data, with the data for augmented reality. Augmented reality games use sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer - combined with the head tracking cameras to give information to the HPU, to augment the visual perspective of the user with images produced by 3D holographic projection technology, on its transparent lenses.

It is designed for comfort, as it is lightweight and has an adjustable fit with relatively no pressure on your ears and nose. It is self-contained with no external wires, cameras or computer connection required. Not only this, it has more computing power than the average laptop.

HoloLens is using virtual reality technology to give a new medium to the storytellers to tell their tales and stories, to develop more enriched experiences, and amuse audiences. Virtual reality has practically shattered the boundary between audiences, and the digital content they love to experience. For instance, if a user is viewing their favorite cartoon series wearing a HoloLens, then it is possible to experience Minnie, Mickey and Goofy jumping off the screen using virtual reality technology and roaming in the living room. The objects of the living room become part of the cartoon series, hence giving every viewer a chance to get engage and get deeply engrossed with their favorite series.

HoloLens has a lot of potentials to change the traditional way of learning. For instance, there can be a novel way of how human anatomy is studied. How astonishing it would be to take a theoretical walk around the holographic anatomical models, to see the functioning of a human heart and the other organs. Not only this, medical experts can conduct virtual training sessions with their students using 3D holographic projection technology.

Another instance can be an amazing experience of the virtual reality gaming system, such as a casino where your living room is changed into a card room (a different theme for every different room), where your dining tables turn into roulette tables and your cupboards into slot machines. The experience of virtual reality video games can be enhanced by inviting another friend to play a poker with you.

An even more fascinating involvement of HoloLens is that you can give life to your favorite sports stars through 3D holographic displays, hence allowing you to have an altogether new experience of athletes and their skill. With a virtual reality gaming system, the game could be in front of a person as a hologram in your living room, so that you could have a 360 degrees’ field view, without the hassle of looking at another screen.

HoloLens can revolutionize the way we interact with the world. These are lofty concepts and ideas, which the device might not be able to accomplish as of yet but there is a tremendous potential. The fact that Microsoft is choosing to take the lead in hologram technology and not merely follow the rest is commendable. HoloLens varies from the concepts and products already prevalent in augmented reality. It’s futuristic, innovative and original, a breath of fresh air.