Microsoft's Project Hololens

Some pundits are saying it’s the next step in UI, very different from VR or Google Glass. Augmented Reality is the word I keep hearing. Can they pull it off?

It seems interesting, but lots of hype right now. I am curious to see what people think when there have been more than just a handful of hands on tests.

I think the Hololens project is a very interesting idea, but much like Google Glass it’s just an experiment. Eventually I’m sure there will be a product at the end of the experiment, same way that I think Google Glass will become a product of some description, and the Occulus Rift and Samsung VR will come to something…

But I think the industry is still very immature. Sure the idea of Virtual Reality has been around for longer than I care to remember, and now the technology has got to the point where it’s possible to produce build like the Hololens, and Google Glass (which to my mind was a better looking product - I know the functionality of the two devices are different).

The problem at the moment is that the there isn’t really a compelling reason to own any of these devices. Sure there are some great proof of concept apps out there, but until there’s a “killer app” then these products will continue to be an experiment/geek toy.

Sure we can all see the potential… Imagine doing doing some CAD design and actually being able to pull the model apart to take a look at the inner workings in mid air, or product design and actually being able to see a 3D model of the product in all it’s different guises, or doing web development with hololens/google glass/whatever overlaying the code over the part of the site you’re looking at so you can see the problem code… There’s a mountain of potential out there, but until the industry matures and settles, and until there’s a compelling reason to actually buy one of these I think they are going to remain a niche product.

This was the first interface that really got my attention in a long time. For me, Occulus Rift - meh, just a toy. Same with Google Glass. But, as you mentioned, there is a lot of potential with this Hololens, if they can get it going. I was thinking of how many times I have stared at a problem for, what seems a long time, and not being able to figure it out. Someone comes along, takes a minute for a good look and points out the, what usually is obvious, problem. Hololens maybe could help someone in that situation when there is nobody physically there to help. I understand they are already looking for developers for this.

An interesting thing I was listening to regarding this, is that Microsoft has been working on this for quite a while now, but there hasn’t been any leaks about the project. One reason is that, while there have been several teams working on it, the code name for the project was different for each team. That way, if there was a leak, they would know where it came from. And no doubt they had a NDA that would require the loss of the ability to perform acts of reproduction if they did leak information.

I agree with @mo_roodi that there needs to be a killer app for this AR stuff , but it also needs a UI. I think if it’s going to be viable it needs to step away from the traditional computer similar to what happened with the iPhone. As time went on the iPhone became less and less dependent on the traditional computer.

Hololense provides the ability for AR/VR to step away from the computer and stand on their own which I feel will open the door for killer apps. Oculus actually has had something similar on the Gear VR for a while called Oculus Home.

I think what did for Google Glass, will do for all these devices. No matter how good the interface is for the user, the face mounted camera will just piss off everybody else. Until those issues get resolved, I don’t think these devices will be able to succeed.

While I totally agree that people will never truly accept a face mounted camera, I did think that Microsoft’s approach was better than Google’s… While Google encouraged people to wear Glass anywhere and everywhere the Hololens demo very clearly showed people using it around the house, using it to Skype and play Minecraft and whatever else.

You would feel far less self conscious wearing it in the privacy of your own home (and the office) that you do in public. The home is still where a lot of people do their computing, whether that be on their phone, tablet, laptop/desktop PC or with whatever else comes along so showing this used around the house rather than walking around in public makes sense.

The problem I feel with some of these products is that they try to be your primary mode of interaction with the software. the same way that a touchscreen has just become another input now I think hololens/occulus/whatever other VR hardware comes along should be the same. You don’t want to have to wear this thing every time you want to do something on the computer, but imagine you want to Skype your friend/mother/whoever to ask for advice on something. You pop on your hololens/whatever and fire up Skype and when the conversations over you take the headset off and go about your business using a keyboard, mouse and touchscreen… Or you want to play a game. You pop the headset on and off you go in AR. You shouldn’t have to have the headset on for all interactions with the computer… You don’t need AR when you’re editing a document or creating an email.

This is something that MS seems to get a little better than Google did (I have no facts to back this up, it’s just the impression I get). The Hololens is another Input/Output available to the developer…

I think you make a good point - people will always be pretty self conscious about the fashion implications of a device, and a headset is a pretty significant adjustment compared to, say, a wearable wristband device.

If the Hololense does take off, time will only tell as to what Microsoft’s true intentions are, and hopefully this will be limited to being a UI for software. But, as for Google Glass, one of the main goals of Google is to retrieve the data they can gain off of the wearer.

I do agree that it would be cumbersome for this to be the only UI for applications. I would be surprised if that would be the norm though.

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