28th January 2015
by Rowan Williams
Last Wednesday, Microsoft revealed the latest innovation in its product armoury and potentially the most groundbreaking since the launch of Kinect. The HoloLens.
In that same week Google pulled its Glass concept; a vision of an always ready piece of wearable tech. Perhaps this change in direction was in part to focus on building on the $542million investment in Magic Leap, a vision for augmented reality. It’s interesting to briefly look through the lens of Microsoft and explore its latest venture.
Google Glass was haunted by an engrained stigma; wearing a band around your head all day didn’t appeal to the masses, and I can see why. A new product category that interferes with your lifestyle, image and common practices is difficult to get used to. HoloLens isn’t more discrete as a wearable, and doesn’t seem to want to be. I also don’t believe it needs to do so.
Microsoft describes the HoloLens as ‘The Next Piece’ in computing - The Next PC. They have defined a clear user group and the reasons why they would use it. It is very specific about what it offers and if it is as good as it looks, delivers impressively.
There is a clear vision of where this new product sits. It’s not for everywhere at all times. It’s not something you’d wear in public, but you’re not supposed to. Until technology lives in the eye, this may always be the case. HoloLens is pushing the boundaries of the home/work environment, something the PC did back in the day. Augmentation can really start to blur the boundaries of where the home ends and workplace starts through new, exciting and challenging ways to interact, communicate, create and display.
We use products such as the Occulus Rift to place ourselves in concept environments, such as conceptual trains, but the real excitement is the fact this is the first consumer friendly product which can virtually place products around us, products which are purely data but represented in a physical form.
Let’s see where HoloLens can take us.