Microsoft's HoloLens is the leading augmented reality headset. Along with numerous VR products, it has the potential to change the way in which we consume entertainment. However, Microsoft also sees HoloLens as a transformational product for productivity. HoloLens does some have some limitations from a hardware standpoint. Microsoft Chief Envisioning Officer, Dave Coplin, says those limitations will soon disappear.
Speaking to Vodafone UK, Coplin said Microsoft is working on a HoloLens tech that will not need the headset. The actual headset is actually a wonderful piece of hardware. It is, of course, still in the pre-consumer phase, but feels like a finished device.
It has problems though, such as limited field of view. Wearing something on your head for extended periods of time is also going to result in some fatigue. Coplin says the headset will one day be removed from the equation entirely:
“We'll have interesting augmented reality coming through that you can use on anything from Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift, or in the next Xbox (Project Scorpio) – which will have AR and VR capabilities – but for now the reality of holograms is that they have very niche use cases. Over time it will go further, but at this point the limiting factor for holograms is the headset. There's a middle ground, which will be based in augmented reality delivering some value to your immediate locations – like being in the supermarket and seeing recipes brought to life around the physical products, but I still think wide spread use of AR and VR is a way away.”
“The ultimate goal is holograms without the headset. We (Microsoft and its partners) have prototypes in our labs capable of projecting objects in three dimensions that you can see without a headset. It's hard, and it's expensive, and the resolution isn't great, but it's just the beginning of that journey. So having a conversation with your far flung relatives in their holographic form in your kitchen is still a long way off, but it is the direction the technology is moving in, and that spells exciting times ahead.”
Coplin also discussed how augmented reality has already had an impact. Unfortunately that impact has been because of Pokémon GO, which for all intents and purposes is a throwaway game. HoloLens will allow real enterprise-grade productivity in the future and could change industries as diverse as Entertainment, finance, education, and sports.
Speaking of Pokémon GO, Coplin said:
“Microsoft has always a vision – that mobile devices are windows into the digital world. To provide the best experience, you want to be able to reach into the digital world no matter where you are or what you're doing, take the best it has the offer, and then use that to improve your real world experience. One of the things I've loved this summer has been playing Pokémon GO. Not just because it's fun, but because it's actually driven an important conversation about augmented reality in everyday life. It's not just technology geeks playing the game, it's you, me, and the person sitting next to you.”