Announced at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event yesterday, HoloLens is a virtual reality-like headset that projects 3D rendered images into the world around you. There was no pricing or hard release date announced, as anyone who follows Microsoft would have predicted.
Here’s some of the notes I jotted down while watching the HoloLens presentation (starts at about 01:37:00):
- The promotional video looked a lot more impressive than the real life demo, which appeared more clumsy and irritating to interact with.
- Being able to move your mouse cursor off of your computer screen and onto the world around you actually sounds neat. And, this would alleviate some of the awkwardness of having to wave your arm around to interact with the objects in HoloLens.
- Microsoft’s Alex Kipman was listing off various applications for HoloLens while slides of those potential users were being displayed on the screen behind him. But, none of those people “using HoloLens” were actually wearing the HoloLens goggles on their head.
- Available “in the Windows 10 timeframe” is a pretty vague release time frame.
- The HoloLens user interface has to be intuitive on a level never seen before in computing. Otherwise, new users will either be completely lost trying to interact with the software or they’ll have to be constantly inundated with tutorial-like information in order to inform them about what voice commands and physical gestures they can use to interact with the application they’re using.
- It doesn’t seem like you can get the same level of precision using your hands with HoloLens as you could using a mouse on a computer.
I’m skeptical about whether or not this technology will ever take hold. It doesn’t seem much more useful than a large touchscreen computer in regards to physically interacting with objects (since you can’t actually touch anything using HoloLens). And, it’s a lot easier to look like a doofus wearing a pair of goggles than it is using a touchscreen or a traditional mouse and keyboard.
But, I’d be foolish to completely write off this technology. Eventually we’re going to be interacting with computers in different ways than we are today. I’m not certain it will be this, but if the software and hardware are dramatically improved at a rapid rate over the next decade or two this could be the next big thing.