Microsoft HoloDesk – The idea behind HoloLens

Can’t get enough of AR? Make sure you have a look at the following video.

According to WT VOX,

“HoloDesk is a novel interactive system combining an optical see through display and Kinect camera to create the illusion that users are directly interacting with 3D graphics. A virtual image of a 3D scene is rendered through a half silvered mirror and spatially aligned with the real-world for the viewer. Users easily reach into an interaction volume displaying the virtual image.

This allows the user to literally get their hands into the virtual display. A novel real-time algorithm for rep- resenting hands and other physical objects, which are sensed by the Kinect inside this volume, allows physically realistic interaction between real and virtual 3D objects.”

via Microsoft HoloDesk The

Apart from this, enjoy the amazing HoloLens model by xelus. The 3D models shows and explains each part of HoloLens – good job! Just one click:

https://sketchfab.com/models/e6247ba91c6845c2948cdc342dcf3481/embed

Microsoft HoloLens
by Sketchfab
on Sketchfab

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Microsoft fuels enthusiasm for HoloLens

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, commented on HoloLens at the end of last month. Just as Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, Nadella sees great potential in gaming:

hololens4

HoloLens Minecraft project

“Just imagine what is possible with Minecraft. Gaming truly is a valuable part of millions of people’s lives and Microsoft will excel and increase our lead.”

via Microsoft CEO Talks “Mind-Blowing” Gaming Potential for HoloLens – GameSpot.

Besides this, developer Jens Bergensten posted on Twitter:

“I’ve tried 2 Minecraft projects on #HoloLens. One is a toy, one is closer to the game, both are awesome! Very much wip, but definitely real”

via Jens Bergensten auf Twitter: “I’ve tried 2 Minecraft projects on #HoloLens. One is a toy, one is closer to the game, both are awesome! Very much wip, but definitely real”.

We hear it all over the news: HoloLens is the future of gaming. But what reason does Microsoft give for this? Let’s have a look at Microsoft’s gross margins and revenues:

gaming numbers

GameSpot summarized the most important numbers and identified the following key facts:

1. Shipment of Xbox consoles in Q4 2014

“Microsoft on Monday reported earnings results for the quarter ended December 31, 2014, revealing that the company shipped (i.e. sold to retailers) more than 6.6 million Xbox consoles during the period. This is down from 7.4 million consoles shipped during the same quarter last year.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

2. Xbox platform revenue

“Total Xbox platform revenue fell by 20 percent to $703 million, “due to customer preference for new generation of consoles,” Microsoft said. Total console volume fell by 10 percent, while Microsoft also recorded lower revenue from second- and third-party games and accessories.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

3. Total Revenue / Net income

“Overall, Microsoft reported revenue of $26.5 billion for the quarter, up from $24.5 billion last year. Net income was $5.8 billion, down from $6.6 billion last year.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

All in all, Microsoft mentioned that the Xbox  One “sold out the rival Playstation 4” in the US and that they have had a “strong holiday season performance”.

Read GameSpot’s full article here and get more numbers & facts about the Gaming business!

HoloLens Reality Check

Are you tired of futuristic HoloLens visions? CNET‘s Cam Robinson provided a HoloLens Reality Check. According to CNET.com, “gaming is the number one most exciting potential use of the technology”.

Check out his video here: http://www.gamespot.com/videos/embed/6423294/

For those who prefer reading: Cam explains that HoloLens is about “adding things on top of existing reality” and emphasizes the follwing key features of HoloLens:

  • manipulation of digital holographic objects
  • construction of virtual objects (to be later 3D printed)
  • modelling in realtime 3D
oculus

Gaming: VR creating “feeling of presence”

On top of this, Cam compared HoloLens to its “VR cousins” (e.g. Oculus Rift/ Project Morpheus) that fulfil their intended purpose by creating “the feeling of presence”. They take you to a new virtual world and simulate the feeling of being a part of the game.

Especially Facebook has shown the great importance of next-generation technologies as Mark Zuckerberg announced the $2bn acquisition of Oculus Rift in March 2014 (according to theguardian).

Facebook, Sony, Google, Microsoft – they are all pursuing a long-term strategy to develop and improve AR and VR solutions. But what about Apple? The gossip factory is working overtime as Apple is hiring engineers and app developers with VR experience.

As long as there were no more details released, we have to be patient. Maybe we have to get ready for another pleasant surprise?

Feel free to leave your comments below and let us know what you think about the current development.

And do not forget to participate in our HoloLens survey above!

A single device, a million opportunities.

Some time has passed since Microsoft has announced its new gadget HoloLens, people had the chance to go through their daily lives with all of their visionary information in mind and thus one or another might have experienced some activities or situations where a device like Microsoft’s new gadget could appear desirable.

Microsoft HoloLens - Possibilities

Only one of a million possibilities Microsoft itself has shown in a marketing video

If you did not have had your “HoloLens moment” until now, maybe the article of columnist Jurica Dujmovic for MarketWatch may be an inspiration for you. From an economic point of view he sheds light on Hololens’ possible impact on the consumer market as well as media usage and points out where “the first augmented-reality device done right” could really be an improvement:

“HoloLens will impact multiple markets, ranging from home entertainment to mobile devices; virtually everything with a screen will likely take a cue from the technology within HoloLens. Your fridge will interface with it, showing you a see-through view of groceries, along with a visual representation of the expiration dates, and the option to “check mark” individual items and add them to your shopping list. That is, without opening the fridge.”

via Microsoft’s HoloLens actually could be a game changer

But his list of opportunities and possibilities does not stop at your fridge. He talks about:

  • Changing wall colors at your home
  • Seeing fantasy scenes when looking out of your window
  • Experiencing different real world places when looking out of your window
  • Transforming your child’s bedroom into an enchanted forest instead of a traditional good night story
  • Single- or multiplayer gaming in your living room as an alternative to classical board games
  • Integration of holograms into your car and your view of the outside
  • Surgeons that use it for complex operations (if you have a special interest in medical topics we recommend the article “Drone Surgery and HoloLens: Hello 2015”  by Zev Ginzburg, UX Research Copywriter at Codal Inc.)
  • Improving the tidiness of your office working environment
  • Creating impressive art installations on almost empty walls in almost empty halls
  • Enhancing education by visual breakdown and vivid demonstration of complex subjects

Finally the authors sums it up very accurately:

“Really, HoloLens has the potential to change the way we perceive the world around us, and to truly extend and augment reality. Depending on the final product and the limits of our imagination, we may reach, or even surpass, many elements of the imaginary “Star Trek” holodeck technology.”

via Microsoft’s HoloLens actually could be a game changer

So did you find your favorite HoloLens scenario? Or do you even see more than the author? Or do you disagree and do not see any opportunities for your life in Microsoft’s new technology? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments section.

HoloLens insider knowledge

92821757-XBox-720-9-24-Checkpoint-Draft-1.pptx

Ben Gilbert’s Road to Fortaleza

We were quite staggered by HoloLens after the Windows 10 live event in January 2015. But if we take a closer look at Microsoft’s corporate history, we notice that the innovation is actually not that suprising remembering several rumours and leaks in June 2012.

That time, a confidential business presentation was uploaded to Scribd. The document contains important information about various Microsoft products and their future plans. Engadget’s Ben Gilbert traced the rumour to its source and summarized his insights:

“The document is largely focused on this next console and sensor (what became the Xbox One), as well as one more big hardware announcement: HoloLens. The alternate reality headset Microsoft announced a few weeks back was originally planned for announcement in 2014, and it’s been known by a few different names (“Kinect Glasses,” “Project Fortaleza” and “Screen Zero” all show up in several places on and off the document).

I’d wager it’s had a few other names since — every time I’ve asked Microsoft reps about Fortaleza since this document first leaked in 2012, they’ve clammed up and said nothing.”

via Microsoft leaked the Xbox One, HoloLens and more way back in 2012.

Besides this, Gizmodo’s Darren Orf refers to Gilbert’s article adding that

” At first, it seemed that HoloLens was destined to be an Xbox peripheral, or at the very least gaming focused.

Although Microsoft did have a neat (in theory) concept of Minecraft using the headset, the company seems more focused on the HoloLens becoming the next evolution in computing than just an Xbox One add-on.”

via So Long: RadioShack Officially Goes Bankrupt.

If you are interested in further insights into Microsoft’s leaks, read Ben Gilbert’s article here or his original article from 2012 here.

HoloLens & Borderlands

borderlands

nick8807’s Borderlands mock-up for HoloLens

Latitude and creativity without limits – that’s what  Reddit user nick8807 might have thought when he created his own augmented Borderlands mock-up for Xbox One.

“Just an idea I had in my head. Off screen HUD and inventory that dims when your eyes focus on your TV. Rough mock up. Let me know what you guys think.”

via What HoloLens could be like on Xbox One… : xboxone.

Actually the mock-up is very similar to Tadgh Kelly‘s idea of AR used as an augmented screen. The mock-up shows a simplified method to choose weapons and to improve the overview and understanding of the game. In fact, the actual screen would be dedicated 100% to the game world.

Gamingbolt‘s Ravi Sinha thought about similar features adding that

“It’s interesting because it allows you to automatically select weapons from your backpack, listen to custom soundtracks or start a party – all without having to leave the actual game. Though it’s just a mock-up, it represents the potential of HoloLens for commercial games in terms of functionality, ease of use and even custom functionality.”

via Here’s What Microsoft’s HoloLens Could Be Like On Xbox One « GamingBolt.com: Video Game News, Reviews, Previews and Blog.

If you are interested in further comments about the mock-up, have a look at the complete Reddit post here.

Feel free to comment on the mock-up below and tell us what you think about all the ideas!

3D objects vs. holograms

We have already mentioned that HoloLens doesn’t create holograms by itself. The so-called holograms are actually 3D objects made entirely out of light. By using Microsoft’s special goggles, these virtual 3D objects are projected onto our field of vision.

In contrast, researcher Xuewu Xu and some of his colleagues  from Data Storage Institute in Singapore succeeded in developing a method to create “real” holograms.  Engadget’s Felix Knoke shared a German article about the topic here and attempts to get a demo video from Xuewu Xu and his colleagues. Basically, they explain their approach in the following way:

hologram“We propose a new approach to spatiotemporally multiplex sub-holograms and stream hologram data in parallel by using multiple spatial light modulators (SLMs) to increase the spatiotemporal resolution of holographic display system.

With the proposed approach, we have achieved a spatiotemporal resolution of 4.5 × 1010 pixel/s, as compared with 1.89 × 109 pixel/s of a single SLM. Each frame of computer-generated hologram video has a pixel count of 378 Mpixels and is divided into 288 sub-holograms, each of 1.31 Mpixels.

During the playback of holographic video, these sub-holograms are spatiotemporally multiplexed and streamed in parallel to form the integrated hologram within 16.67 ms, which enables full-color holographic video display with a 10-in. diagonal at a hologram data frame rate of 60 frames per second (fps).

New SLM devices with higher spatiotemporal resolution need to be developed in order to meet the data bandwidth requirement of about 1012–1014 pixel/s for future 3D holographic displays.”

via So gehen Hologramme richtig – Engadget Deutschland.

Nevertheless, HoloLens offers a great possibility to blend virtual objects into our physical reality. Even if HoloLens doesn’t create holograms by definition, Microsoft avoids negative connotations connected with AR and establishes best conditions for HoloLens to be accepted by potential customers.

Build – Microsoft’s premier developer conference

build2015

Microsoft’s annual developer conference Build will take place from April 29 to Mai 1, 2015 in The Moscone Center, San Francisco. Techcrunch reported that

Registration opened at 9am PT this morning and the event sold out in less than an hour.

via Update: Microsoft’s Build 2015 Developer Conference Sold Out In Less Than An Hour | TechCrunch.

Not really surprising as we are all interested in having more information about Microsoft’s new development tools and HoloLens.

But don’t throw in the towel if you didn’t get tickets for Build, Microsoft announced officially that it is possible to tune in to live session webcasts. Let’s get ready for Microsoft HoloLens at Build!

Currently the full agenda is not finalized yet, but according to Techcrunch we can expect insights into Windows 10 and other core technologies.

Judging from today’s announcement, the focus of the event will be squarely on Windows 10, which is expected to launch later this year. The Windows 10 Technical Preview is scheduled to expire on April 15, so chances are we will see the first release candidate at Build.

via Update: Microsoft’s Build 2015 Developer Conference Sold Out In Less Than An Hour | TechCrunch.

Watch also Microsoft’s Windows 10 experiences video and find out why you might love Windows 10:

If you like Winodws 10 but won’t be willing to buy another system software for your computer, please note that Microsoft announced to provide a free upgrade for Windows 10

“made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.*”

*Hardware and software requirements apply. No additional charge. Feature availability may vary by device. Some editions excluded. More details at http://www.windows.com.

via The next generation of Windows: Windows 10.

Critics about HoloLens

cropped-hololens1.jpgStill impressed by the live presentation of HoloLens, we have to be aware of the enormous product promotion. Actually we  have already heard of a similar product previously when Microsoft presented Kinect as game changing innovation.

In short: despite of all promises nothing really happened and we are still waiting for Kinect coming to take our home entertainment to a new level. Besides this, especially Google had to make the bitter experience that people refuse to wear the AR goggles out in public – the Glass user were even declared as “Glassholes”.

Against this background we meet with skepticism as Microsoft presents another device that should transform our world  – even though with holograms.

In an article from gamesindustry, former Microsoft executive Peter Molyneux was interviewed and raised several concerns.

“It did remind me of [Kinect]. You kind of want to scream ‘don’t over promise these things.’ The thing about the concept videos is they feel so seamless and it just looks like everything’s working and actually, as we found with Kinect, it works all fine if you’ve got the perfect environment and the perfect distance away and you’re the right shape human being. But it’s very challenging if any of those things don’t come together perfectly,”

via Molyneux warns Microsoft: Don’t overpromise on HoloLens | GamesIndustry.biz.

Polygon‘s Ben Kuchera is also more cautious about HoloLens adding that

The problem is that Microsoft has only shown that hardware in a controlled environment, and we have to keep in mind the difference between these first displays of the technology and the reality of what is actually shipped.

via Skeptical of HoloLens? It’s time to rewatch how Microsoft sold us on the Kinect | Polygon.

 

To put it all in a nutshell, Microsoft is taking steps to realize their AR vision. All we can do is being patient about the further development and thinking about how HoloLens could shape our future.

As always, make sure you read the full interview with Peter Molyneux here and take a look at Polygon’s article here.

Best Uses of HoloLens & Favoured Augmented Games

4 specific applications were presented at the Windows 10 live event. Apparently, there is a lot more to do with HoloLens as the potential of AR is increasing permanently.

Cnet’s Donald Bell thought about best uses of HoloLens and presented his TOP 5:

Especially augmented gaming is fascinating many people. But which games are actually suitable?

Steven Wong from Shacknews explored exactly this question and shared 9 games that hold great potential for augmented gaming.

Here are some of his examples:

1. The Sims

sims

The Sims 4

The Sim Creator from The Sims 4 is a perfect example. Imagine having a small 3D hologram of your Sim standing atop your desk as you use your hands to pull on arrows to manipulate its proportons. It would be like creating a virtual sculpture, with the added fun of it coming to life once it’s done.

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official The Sims Site here.

 

2. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

halo

Halo: Master Chief Collection

Perhaps it could heighten the experience by allowing players to see more from their periphery. It could paint the floor and walls of your room with matching environment tiles, so it feels like you’re playing the game from wherever you are in the game. Lastly, if you get stuck or lost on a level, you could ask ask Cortana where you should go.

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official Halo Site here

 

3. Alien: Isolation

alien

Alien: Isolation. Nostromo Crew

“You could use the HoloLens to scan through your house and its furniture. Then you would set the starting point and exit, place bystanders, enemies, and gadget parts in different rooms, and pretend (for the sake of the experience) that all other doors and windows don’t work.”

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official Alien: Isolation Site here.

Do not forget to check out Steven Wong’s full article here!