HoloLens Developer Warns of Overheating Issue

2016 may be the year of virtual reality, but Microsoft is carving its own path with its augmented reality headset, the HoloLens, which launched its Development Edition yesterday. While the HoloLens has been criticised for its small viewing area, low resolution, and limited app sizes, a developer working with the headset has warned that the most immediate concern could be how much heat the HoloLens generates.

David Dedeine, CCO for Asobo Studio, which developed the games Young Conker and Fragments for the HoloLens, has expressed his worry that Microsoft’s AR device could become too hot to wear for long periods. Unlike VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the unteathered HoloLens packs its processing power into the headset itself, meaning that the processor is effectively on your head, rather than in a connected PC.

“The most important thing is to really be economical […] you would never need to do this with console or PC—it’s all about consumption of energy, battery savings,” Dedeine told PC World. “Even more important, it’s heat—to not make the whole thing get too hot, as it would be uncomfortable to the user.”

Should the HoloLens breach its defined high temperature threshold, it will immediately shutdown any app that it is running, in order to protect both the headset itself and your poor head.

It should be recognised that the current iteration of the HoloLens is the Development Edition, and as such is sure to undergo many refinements before its consumer release. Augmented reality is still new territory, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can do the concept justice.

“I say that there is a continent of gaming, and VR is just a new peninsula on that continent,” Dedeine says. “AR is an entirely new continent.”

NASA To Offer Virtual Mars Walks Using Hololens

We may be a number of years off the first humans walking on Mars, but NASA plans to give us a sneak peek at what it may be like to walk on the Red Planet. Their new exhibit, named “Destination: Mars” has them teaming up with Microsoft to let visitors take a virtual walk across the surface of Mars thanks to the power of the Hololens augmented reality headset.

Destination: Mars will be powered by the OnSight mission operations tool, a cooperative development between Microsoft and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It is capable of taking data recorded by the Curiosity rover, which has been roaming the Red Planet since 2012 and transfers the images to the Hololens which can make any room appear like it is actually the surface of Mars.

OnSight is already in use by NASA scientists, who use it to virtually experience Mars for themselves so they can better select future destinations for the Curiosity rover to visit. This new exhibit will be the first time that the experience will be available to the general public, allowing them to see the alien world in just the way a NASA mission scientist would.

The exhibition will be open at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida this summer where visitors will be able to virtually travel to a number of locations on Mars, accompanied by holographic guides like Aldrin and rover driver Erisa Hines who will point out the sites of key discoveries.

Sulon Unveils AMD-Powered Tetherless Sulon Q VR Headset – Capsaicin

Just as the final versions of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been revealed and launched, another contender has jumped into the VR scene with their own solution. Unlike their competitors, though, Toronto-based Sulon has managed to provide a solution that won’t break the bank. Dubbed a rather plain Sulon Q, the new VR HMD requires no host system to use, relying completely on its own internal inertial tracking and AMD PC grade hardware, all strapped to your head.

Reading the spec sheet of the Sulon Q makes it seem like you’re strapping a Windows PC with a VR display rather than a VR display with an attached PC. The Sulon Q comes with a quad-core AMD FX-8800P mobile APU with 512 GCN shader cores, enough to give Intel’s mainstream mobile CPUs a run for their money. Combined with a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a 2560×1440 OLED display with an 110° field of view, the entire system is strapped securely to the user’s face.

This Windows 10 PC might seem a bit underpowered compared to the hefty 290/390/970 GPU requires of the Rift/Vive but the console-like hardware standardization and DX12 should provide enough for a portable VR experience. Tracking is done by a Spatial Processing Unit with two front cameras which removes the need for external trackers and hardware. This means it will be easy to setup and use right away.

There is even gesture control available through the 2 front cameras as well, removing the need for a controller in some cases. This also allows for augmented reality, putting it into the same realm as Hololens. If might even be possible to move around freely with this display as the cameras can provide a feed of the surroundings, avoid awkward issues like bumping into people and things.

From the demo shown off at Capsaicin, it looks like rather than targeting gaming audiences which require lots of action/FPS and visual fidelity, the Sulon Q is meant to provide a first VR home experience with lower graphics quality and simpler gameplay. A console-like approach means a common hardware platform for developers to target and DX12 should help things along nicely. Looking at the demo, the graphics quality looked like something from the PS2/3 era which is passable when it comes to gaming.

In working with Sulon, this is another one of AMD’s prongs to push VR adoption to the masses. If the Sulon Q can later be used to display from a PC, it may well be the perfect entry level VR device. With a late spring launch (within 2 months), we can hopefully get some more information before it debuts for real.

Microsoft HoloLens Out This Month

Microsoft has announced that, one year after it was first unveiled, the HoloLens augmented reality headset is available for pre-order, and it’s not cheap. In a blog post, Alex Kipman, the Microsoft executive that has effectively adopted HoloLens as his baby, revealed that the Development Edition of the wireless AR headset can now be reserved, for the hefty sum of $3,000, before it ships on 30th March.

“I’m thrilled to announce that starting today, developer applicants will start receiving invitations to purchase the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition – which will begin shipping on March 30th,” Kipman writes. “Today represents a monumental step forward. This is the first step in our journey to consumers. A step focused on our commercial partnerships and on supporting developers, who will help pave the way to consumer availability with amazing and new holographic experiences.”

“The future of technology will not be confined to just two dimensions – our future interaction with technology will more closely mirror our real world,” he adds. “Technology coexisting in our real, three-dimensional world, beyond screens and pixels. We believe that the future is holographic, and as a result, we will continue to empower the developers who will help bring that future to life.”

While the HoloLens release is a Development Edition, rather than a consumer release, $3,000 seems overpriced, especially compared with the sub-$1,000 price points of both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Microsoft Evangelist Reveals New Hololens Details

With many developers racing to release virtual reality headsets for gaming and other applications, Microsoft has taken a rather different route. Their Hololens headset touts itself as “mixed reality” experience, expanding on typical augmented reality systems by overlaying virtual holograms. Until now, Microsoft has kept quite silent on many of the basic details of the device that may matter to developers and consumers. Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Bruce Harris, broke this silence at a presentation in Tel Aviv, showing new details of the augmented reality device.

For starters, the Hololens will be able to connect with any Bluetooth of WiFi-capable devices, with no wired options available. Adding to this, it will also be able to run every universal Windows 10 app out of the box. It was also confirmed that multiple Hololens devices can be connected to one another to provide a shared user experience, even over the internet.

The killer question, as with all wireless devices is the battery life, and while it can vary based on usage it can be expected that the Hololens can be used for up to 5.5 hours on a full charge. However, pushing the device to its limits could reduce that time by over half. Hopefully, this won’t harm the Hololens’ usage in business applications, but it is unlikely that the average user would be wearing it for so long uninterrupted anyway. Another limitation to the device that was shown was that its field of view would be akin to a “15-inch screen 2 feet away”, with the reasons for this limitation being put down to cost and battery life. Microsoft aims to improve this in future versions of the Hololens as their manufacturing capabilities improve.

With the Hololens not due to ship to developers until later this year, it is still unclear how these features and limitations will affect the device in practice. These specifications are unlikely to be reflected in the eventual consumer versions of the Hololens, but home users should expect at least what has been revealed so far.

Hololens Predicted to Focus on Enterprise Instead of Game Development

Microsoft’s Hololens utilizes a high-definition stereoscopic 3D head-mounted display, and spatial sound which allows developers to create truly unique experiences using augmented reality. This revolutionary VR technology has been demoed by Microsoft and showcased its potential to revolutionize gaming. Theoretically, it’s possible to interact with worlds in a tactile manner and feel more connected with the gameplay. Although, rather unsurprisingly, it seems the Hololens technology is primarily designed for enterprise scenarios as it could be difficult to integrate with complex modern titles.

In an interview with Gamingbolt, Chris Pruett from Robot Invader discussed the viability of Hololens as a gaming device and said:

”It’s too early to tell! But I think that it’s likely to be targeted at enterprise rather than games, at least at first,” 

He also weighed in on the development process for the PlayStation VR game, Dead Secret:

“VR in general is very difficult to get right from a game play perspective. Many of the common game design patterns used for years on console and PC games simply do not apply to VR. We mentioned the HUD and user interface above, but there are many other areas that are similarly affected. Creating a comfortable motion system, for example, is very hard.”

“Our approach to locomotion is designed around the basic properties of the human vestibular system, and we did a whole lot of user testing to make sure we’d gotten it right. There are many areas like this that we take for granted when playing on a TV that must be completely rethought for VR.”

It’s clear there are some major pitfalls when trying to create games on the Hololens. That’s not to say it won’t be used for this purpose in the future, but it looks set to be a niche device for the enterprise market.

Volvo Team Up With Microsoft to Make Hololens Showrooms

The days of Volvo showrooms being packed with cars for potential buyers to wander around and look at could soon be over. This new partnership between the Swedish car manufacturer and Microsoft aims to equip Volvo showrooms with Microsoft’s new Hololens headsets, shifting the contents of the showrooms from physical vehicles to augmented reality holograms.

With the aim of rolling out the Hololens across their showrooms as soon as next year, already having shown a prototype of the system featuring the Volvo S90 sedan at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. The system was able to not just show a holographic representation of the car, but also allow the users to see cross sections of the car and it’s parts. The demo also featured the ability to customize the car, changing the colour and the bumper styles, which they were then able to examine from all angles by walking around the hologram.

The ability to simply look at a fully customizable vehicle would just be the beginning. There is the possibility to show off features of the car in real life situations in the AR environment, and even the ambitious idea that someone sat it a real vehicle could take it for an AR test-drive, right in the showroom. According to Geekwire, the AR showroom is just the beginning for the Volvo-Microsoft partnership, which could bring them into the competition of developing autonomous cars. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Hololens, with Microsoft going to great lengths to secure more projects for the headset.

It seems like giving car showrooms an infusion of modern technology may just be what they need, with their current limitation on the models and options on show, compared to the myriad of customization options that can be previewed on manufacturers websites.

Microsoft Discloses Hololens Development Price

Whenever Microsoft showcases its Hololens technology, the world rightfully responds in awe due to the vast number of visual effects and huge potential. Yesterday, Microsoft demoed a game entitled, ‘Project X-Ray’ which revolves around menacing robots emerging from a wall. This neat in-house development is incredibly immersive as you employ a ray-gun to fend off the hordes of devastating enemies. This is all possible through the Hololens headset which could revolutionize gaming in the future.

Virtual Reality is certainly the next major technological innovation and the exuberance and tactile nature of Microsoft’s Hololens is difficult to beat. Developers are already working in tandem with Microsoft to create new and unusual experiences. Also, the headset could be used for non-gaming purposes to train apprentices in a more practical manner.

As with any pioneering technology, the initial cost is quite high and only really aimed at development studios. Microsoft has set the Hololens developer pricing at $3000 which is surprisingly affordable given its financial potential in games and other software. Clearly, in the next 10 years, Hololens will become more accessible to consumers in terms of price of availability. During the presentation, members of the public expressed their feelings on social media and it was overwhelmingly positive. As a software company, Microsoft took a risk to enter the hardware market and it seems to be finally paying off.


What do you think of the Hololens?

Oculus Admits to Conversations About Xbox One Support

Virtual reality headset makers Oculus has established a strong relationship with Microsoft recently, with the retail version of Oculus Rift to include an Xbox One controller, streaming support for Xbox One games, and official support for Minecraft next year. Now Oculus has admitted to “conversations” regarding official Xbox One support, but don’t expect it any time soon.

“It has been a conversation, but I can say we’re not so close,” Oculus’ Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell admitted.

“What we were finding is that it’s hard enough to deliver a great experience reliably on Windows, never mind adding OS X and Linux to that, which are different beasts entirely,” explained Mitchell. “Because of that, we’ve been laser focused on getting Windows in awesome shape. No one is really thinking right now about bringing the Rift to a console, especially when the spec is so different from what we’re targeting right now.”

Microsoft, of course, is launching its own Xbox-compatible VR headset, the HoloLens, which is expected, in the form of developer version at least, by 2016. Sony is also joining the party with Project Morpheus for PlayStation 4, also due next year.

“That’s the thing, you can absolutely deliver a great VR experience on Xbox One, what I should say is with the hardware that’s in the Xbox One,” Mitchell added. “We’re not really focused on it right now. It really depends on the content you want to put there.”

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ars Technica.

Check Out Microsoft HoloLens’ Limited Field of View Yourself

When Microsoft first introduced the production version of HoloLens, the biggest complaint from those who had previously used the prototype was the limited field of view. Microsoft has been loath to address the issue, but the HoloLens is now too far along to leave this issue out. The latest video featuring the HoloLens finally lets the rest of us see just how limited the field of view is and it is simply night and day compared to the marketing material.

Take for instance the following image. It shows a large and expansive view of the human heart. This is pretty much in line with what we’ve seen with past HoloLens material. However, this is once again a third person view.


Once you move into first person view though, you can clearly see the limits of the field of vision. Compared to the third person view, the user sees only a fraction of the virtual space. As those who’ve tried the HoloLens say, the virtual view really is more like a small window or box, rather than something that fills one’s vision.

Given the limited field of vision, it raises the question of how well HoloLens will work for things like Minecraft and other games. Education and other activities like telepresence can deal with the limits, but gaming requires something more. A limited field of vision means gamers won’t be able to take in the whole environment and might get blindsided by enemies. Some gamers already tweak the field of vision in games to get the drop on their opponents. HoloLens, therefore, may only have a niche role in gaming until the field of vision is improved.

Nevertheless, Microsoft’s HoloLens still is really impressive for what it has accomplished and it will be interesting to see more applications for this technology. Be sure to check out the video below and 0:48, 0:58, 1:23, 1:38, and 1:42 for the parts where for the limited field of view is shown.

Images Courtesy of Polygon

Microsoft Has Half a Million Dollars for Five Worthy HoloLens Projects

Microsoft has big plans with their HoloLens and they’re also aware that they might not come up with all its uses on their own. The Redmond giant created five awards each worth a hundred thousand dollars in what they call the Academic Research Request for Proposals.

Along with the $100K comes two HoloLens development kits and it will go to accredited universities, which ones will be announced on October the 6th. Microsoft wants to better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society.

Some of the uses for augmented reality could be data visualizations and 3D models for medical training, but the possibilities are almost endless. These are some of the ideas they’ve already had on the Redmond campus, so it is time to get some fresh ideas.

You need to have what it takes and really bring it to the table as Microsoft stresses that these proposals need to be absolutely complete and that those submitting them be fully capable of carrying out the research or experiments. That means high-value research that later could be featured in some of the world’s finest academic journals and pave the way for a future with more holograms. The deadline for sign-ups is set to September the 5th and the academic institution needs to be US-based.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information

Minecraft May Be the ‘Killer App’ for Microsoft’s HoloLens

While the hype is still going into virtual reality, we shift focus for a bit and try to look at what augmented reality has to bring too. Microsoft just demoed how its HoloLens gear deals with augmented reality and used Minecraft as a game example on stage at E3.

Though Minecraft first appeared in a HoloLens press release earlier this year, it did not look so appealing at first. However, Microsoft really outdid themselves when they did the E3 demo. It began on a virtual TV screen, which seemed pretty normal for a presentation. But it was not until someone dragged it onto the table that got everyone so excited.

If you know Minecraft, you sort of get the 3D Lego feeling when you work around its vast world. Now picture it on a table and interacting with it from above. Pretty amazing, huh? You may not have any idea how amazing it is until you watch the video below.

Though augmented reality may seem a bit locked into certain types of games, such as crafting, building and RTS in general, Microsoft did announce it already has a partnership with Oculus for future development. Also, Microsoft is working on bringing compatibility with the SteamVR as well, so we are bound to see a lot of potential in future games.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information

Mass Effect Creator Joins Microsoft HoloLens Team

Microsoft is forging ahead with development of its augmented reality headset, the HoloLens, adding BioWare’s Casey Hudson, Project Director on Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect trilogy, as Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, tasked with refining the company’s AR technology. Microsoft announced the news on the Xbox Wire site.

“As Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, my primary focus will be the creative direction of HoloLens Experiences. I am extremely passionate about the potential of this kind of technology, as anyone who’s talked with me over the last couple of years can attest,” Hudson said. “I feel that the work being done at Microsoft on mixed reality and holographic computing will have a tremendous impact on how all of us interact with technology in the coming years.”

“I was fortunate to try an early prototype of HoloLens before it was announced, and I was blown away by the technology and what it was already capable of,” Hudson continued. “Walking on Mars while sipping coffee in an office setting, Skyping with a friend who can draw on the walls of my environment, sculpting an object in 3D modeling software while a hologram of it sits on a table next to me […] These first experiences cemented my belief that holographic computing was where I needed to be.”

Hudson says that, in addition to the HoloLens, he will be working on “innovative new Xbox titles” as part of his role as Creative Director, while “driving a creative focus for Xbox and Windows gaming,” suggesting that Microsoft is seriously considering HoloLens integration with the Xbox One.

Thank you Xbox Wire for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Windows Central.

Microsoft Considering HoloLens for Xbox

While the Microsoft HoloLens has thus far been marketed as a device that will add new dimension to your Windows 10 experience, it seems Microsoft is still exploring the possibility of integrating the augmented reality headset with its current-gen video game console, the Xbox One.

In an interview with Edge magazine, Head of Xbox Studio Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft are strongly considering HoloLens/Xbox One integration, but for now the company is concentrating on making the AR device a standalone piece of tech first. “The tethered scenarios around VR I think are interesting, but we were going for something different,” said Spencer. “Not being tethered to either a PC, Xbox or a phone as part of the solution was one of our design challenges for HoloLens, and we did that.”

He continued, “Well, we haven’t announced it as an Xbox accessory, but it sits within one team, and we have the conversations. Right now, we want to focus on a standalone, untethered device and make sure that we can prove out that scenario.”

Should the HoloLens make it to Xbox, Spencer believes that will open up new territory for developers, adding, “Now we can say, ‘Well, OK, if I do have an Xbox or a PC, what are those scenarios?’ We haven’t publicly talked about what those are, but you can imagine, as we continue to drive and get success with HoloLens, those scenarios will become obvious and developers will take advantage of them.”

Thank you GamesRadar for providing us with this information.

First Look at Microsoft HoloLens

There have been a few leaks and rumours kicking around about the final design of the Microsoft HoloLens, but now it seems Microsoft are keen to show off their new hardware, to a certain extent, at their Built2015 event.

There’s no firm details to nail down about this one just yet, but if this is set to be the final product, it’s certainly looking pretty cool. There’s a wrap-around headband to help hold it in place, while also providing extra room to store the inner workings and any batteries. Front the front, I can see there’s a dual-sensor setup on both the left and right side of the glasses, no doubt required to generate a 3D scan of your environment and render to the glasses accordingly.

It am happy that the HoloLens looks futuristic and cool, I was worried that it would look clunky; not that it would hurt to slim down the size of the headband of course, but all in good time.

AR and VR technology is quickly showing a lot of promise, but it remains to be seen how many people will actually need or use one regularly, rather than how many people just want to buy one to play with for a bit. What about you, are you eager to get on the VR or AR bandwagon?

Images courtesy of Engadget.

Microsoft HoloLens Project Designer Killed in Drunk Driving Hit-and-Run

Microsoft’s HoloLens project has a lot of people excited, including the entire staff here at eTeknix. The project has however suffered one of the saddest setbacks it could as one of its project designers was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident last weekend.

Mike Ey was just 30-years old and described as a caring and reliable person by those who knew him. According to news reports, Mike was hit from behind on State Route 520 in Redmond, WA by a drunk driver. After barely missing another driver with speeds in excess of 100mph the drunk driver rear ended Mike Ey, who died from the injuries. The driver was seen fleeing the scene and arrested by Police shortly after. He is now facing vehicular homicide and felony hit and run charges.

“He was the most reliable person ever. You could ask him anything and he would make sure it got done, whether he knew how to do it or not,” said Kelley Piering, Mike’s girlfriend.

May he rest in peace.

Thank you CanadianOnlineGamer for providing us with this information.

Xbox One HoloLens Plans Leaked – In 2012

Microsoft is no stranger to leaks. Most of the company’s plans have been some of the worst-kept secrets in the industry. Well now news has surfaced giving us a look at one of the biggest leaks in Microsoft history. A leak that no-one really ever took notice of.

According to Engadgeta document was uploaded to Scribd in 2012 that basically laid out all of the company’s Xbox plans in intimate detail. It covered many of the things that have been realised today – the Xbox One with its media functionality, the inclusion of the new Kinect, and perhaps most intriguingly of all, the 2 year old documents detail a certain “Project Fortaleza” – the very project that would become Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses we saw a few weeks ago.

The documents, which have since been deleted, carry an incredible level of detail, with most of the plans coming true. However, there are a few things in there that haven’t become true – the Xbox One was supposed to be priced at $300 but instead was released with a high $500 price, and there’s also details in the documents that say Microsoft originally wanted to have the HoloLens out in 2014. They also said that they wanted an updated model out in 2015 with “4G connectivity” – something unlikely to happen for at least a while.

Be sure to visit the source link to read the plans in more detail.

Source: Engadget

Streaming Xbox One Games to Microsoft’s Hololens is Work in Progress

There has been much buzz about the HoloLens, Microsoft’s virtual and augmented reality wireless headset, and Xbox head Phil Spencer says that his team are thinking about how to use the wearable device in conjunction with the Xbox One, saying it is “clearly on the roadmap.”

“I think gaming will be important,” Spencer said. “Specific scenarios with the Xbox, we’re thinking hard about. People could ask about streaming solutions. Could I use it as a display for my Xbox? We don’t have answers to any of those things, but know it’s all part of the same organization.”

Spencer is quite taken with Microsoft’s new hardware, saying, “It’s very cool. To me there’s not a successful consumer electronics device on the planet where gaming is not a primary form of app category on the thing.”

Source: Microsoft News

Microsoft HoloLens: Everything You Need to Know

Yesterday Microsoft had their massive Windows 10 event. In it they announced a great deal about Windows 10 and a great deal about many things we weren’t expecting.

One of those things was the HoloLens – a crazy mix of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. These goggles essentially provide the virtual reality of a device like Oculus Rift, but presented in a way like Google Glass. There’s a visor that provides the viewer rich and detailed content, but content that can be ‘projected’ onto any surface. In the demo for instance, the company showed how you could play Minecraft on your living room floor, picking up and adding blocks with your hands.

Besides playing Minecraft, the HoloLens also looks like it could do a lot for education and enterprise customers too. They showed how someone made a drone with the device, picking up and choosing various components for it out of the air, and then building the real thing with a 3D printer.

The question with a device like this is, how useful will it be? Is HoloLens a gimmick, or something that represents a new take on user interfaces, that will pave the way for computing in the years to come? We’re not entirely sure at the moment, but so far, it looks more like a whole lot of fun rather than some life-altering technology.

We’ll have to try it out to deliver a definitive answer – something Microsoft says we can all do in “the Windows 10 timeframe”.

Source: Microsoft