Posted Mon Feb 29, 2016 at 04:31 PM PST by Brian Hoss
A call of developers.
While consumer VR swirls in deeper into the spotlight, Microsoft's Augmented Reality headset, the HoloLens, appears to be a very different league. Not only is it taking augmented reality to a holographic level, but it's really its own device rather than a peripheral for a PC, phone, or game console. In its current Developer Edition form, the HoloLens is even more singular as it functions without any kind of separate set of cameras or sensors and is completely untethered.
Although, it's not a PC add-on, the HoloLens is part of the Universal Windows Platform, which means that bringing Windows apps over ought to be a native transition. The HoloLens is, after all, a Windows 10 device. That said, development is meant to be aided by Microsoft's HoloStudio, which lets the user create 3d models via the HoloLens. That is, create Holograms via 3D interaction.
Other important software pieces that already work in HoloLens include Skype, OneDrive, and HoloTour. HoloTour is the kind of program that emphasizes the possibilities of AR over VR.
With the Development Edition, Microsoft has three example games that developers can access via the Windows Store. From Asobo Studio, comes both 'Fragments,' a reality crime drama with investigative and interrogative gameplay, and 'Young Conker,' which brings the iconic Conker into a platforming title that uses the surrounding environment for the gameplay.
The third example game is 'RoboRaid,' a first-person holographic shooter that has been demonstrated previously under the codename 'Project X-Ray.'
Priced at $3,000, the fully wireless Development Edition requires that buyers apply to Microsoft. See here.
With this kind of dev kit being made available in a controlled manner, Microsoft can continue to try to build experiences that maximize what the HoloLens can do. It's an expensive wearable computer, and the output is focused in a narrow field of view. Still, as is, the HoloLens can easily be used as a way to overlay interactive holograms in something as everyday as a museum. Its potential as briefing and illustrative device is massive, but as evidenced by some of the apps already created for it, the idea is to make the HoloLens more essential rather than just complimentary.
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