PC.com Exclusive: HoloLens Hands On Experience

Build 2015 has been a showcase of the best from Microsoft with the Windows 10 feature update, unified platform and the new SDK for developers to start building for the spanking new OS. Another main highlight that first made world news and impressed many was the announcement of the HoloLens in January, Microsoft’s foray into virtual reality.

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Not exactly VR but holograph, a preview session was organized for the press during the second day of the convention, now about the HoloLens – its the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer of its kind. It enables high-definition holographs to come to life, seamlessly integrating with the physical places, spaces, and things. Microsoft calls this experience mixed reality and bring out new ways to create, communicate, work, and play by just gesture, gaze and voice commands (GGV for short). Which I was about to experience for myself.

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The Demo

A small media contingent were ushered to a separate location from the convention centre for the Hololens experience, the 30 minute session kicked off with a briefing on how to handle the gear and an InterPuppilary Distance test (IPD) was conducted on the group; basically to measure the distance between the center of the pupils of the eyes . According to the Microsoft personals these are only for the demo and will not be required for the final version of the products. Soon after we were led out to the set up room.

The set up room for the showcase was similar to the key note presentation the day before; tables, walls and sofa- mimicking a living room of a small apartment. Presenters from the Hololens design team demonstrated how a Skype call will appear holographically on the wall and could be tagged to follow you along the corridor.(note video below) They also illustrated how you can pinch and grab hologram items from the screen into the living space. You can place these items on hard surface and they will remain there, intelligently recognizing different environment.

The duo then showed how you can collaborate and work on a 3D rendering of a cityscape. A Video Card from OneDrive was retrieved and the file was opened. After exchanging suggestionson how the structure should appear Skype was closed by just saying “Skype Close” the image was edited and placed on the shelf. You can also send the image to your 3D printer and print out a physical version. By this time everyone was eager on trying it out for themselves.

Hands On Or Shall We Say Heads On

The group were then split to different rooms in the hotel, (yes didn’t mention this earlier the secret location was the InterContionental next door) each were led to a room stripped of any cameras or recording device. Inside was an experiential zone, and mine happened to be a construction site. There were two person in the room one maning the PC while the other was a helping me place the gear on my head. First the inner band of the headset was tiled at a angle to fit around the circumference of my head, a tightening ring is situated at the back of the band that could be adjusted for the grip, the visor which is attached to the outer band could then be raised, lowered, retracted or pushed forward.

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Trying the hololens for the first time made me felt privileged, representing PC.com it has to said we will be the first media in Malaysia to be able to try this amazing invention. And I was totally not disappointed, having previously tested the Oculus VR by Samsung, immersing into the three dimensional world is uncomprehendable for me at first I was experiencing vertigo like symptoms but the HoloLens was different.

Weightless, built in battery, hands free and floating audio, the untethered all in one device is able to process data in real time in milliseconds.

In the room was a real architectural 3D model project site you see at property galleries, beside it was a monitor screen with a 3D rendered building, I was informed the cost of the 3D model is $12,000. Looking through the window within then HoloLens, the 3D projection of the building from the screen appeared on the empty space and moving my head around I could navigate the corners of the building and surroundings of the neighborhood. Using the cursor I was then able to raise the building up or down to have a multi story scrapper or a three story complex, what got me awed was when the technician asked me to drag the cursor from the screen and into the holograph building on the model… the cursor poped out of the screen and was there right in front of me, in my virtual space. And I could then move the complex structure using the cursor by moving my finger up and down all this performed seamlessly without any lag.

In this virtual world Microsoft created, command is simply by air-tapping, move the fingers and you can call up command dialog boxes or make calls, I was doing all that and the virtual screens responded diligently. There was also an avatar in my space telling me that I will need to replace the piping in the building and all this in real time. As you can already gather, the holographic possibilities like the science fiction movies is now real and has arrived and these guys have made it possible.

Developers are raving about how they could program with the Windows 10 SDK for the HoloLens within hours, with further refinement and new apps start flooding the Windows Store the reality can soon be made available for the rest of the folks. At this moment no dates were given on availability.

 

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