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Очки виртуальной реальности Microsoft Hololens
|4,412 USD Buy
Microsoft HoloLens - Specification
|For PCFor Smartphones
|32-bit Windows 10.0.11802.1033
|AvailabilityAR - See-through
|16:9Field of view horizontal30°Field of view vertical17°
|Intel Atom X5-Z8100
|GPU - Video card
|Windows Mixed RealityViveportPiHome
|Headphone input 3.5mmMicrophone
|Voice control3DoF Turning head
|3DoF Rotation tracking6DoF Positional trackingTracking area
Microsoft HoloLens overviewMicrosoft HoloLens are glasses of mixed reality based on the built-in processor and the Windows Mixed Reality system with open source. It is a fully wireless stand-alone device that allows you to work with 3D holograms attached to real objects. Microsoft regards HoloLens as a product for companies — scientific, architectural, medical, engineering — and developers, but not for ordinary users. Officially, it is not available everywhere, you can purchase it somewhere only from resellers. Let's deal with the features of the gadget.
The development of MIcrosoft Hololens began in 2012, but the team of engineers in many ways was borrowed from another project — Kinect, a game controller for Xbox released two years earlier. The first version of the glasses was presented in January 2015. In March 2016, Microsoft sent working samples to customers from the USA and Canada, and in October of the same year the company expanded its presence to Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand and the UK. Now the gadget is sold in 39 countries. The company also leases Hololens out. Only two versions with identical hardware are available, but they have different software:
- Commercial Suite — for companies. It includes additional warranty and configuration options. The price is 5,000 USD.
- Development Suite — for developers. It is a standard option for individual buyers. The price is 3,000 USD.
Pros of Microsoft HoloLens
Useful technology. Mixed reality looks unfinished, but has great potential. HoloLens will be especially useful for doctors, builders, engineers, scientists.
Wireless system. It is a completely stand-alone device, i.e. it works without the computer. It does not have any wires, controllers are connected via Bluetooth. It is convenient both for work and leisure activities.
Quality voluminous sound. Thanks to the two dynamics and software optimization, glasses understand where the virtual sound should come from and add it correctly to the reality.
There is no feeling of nausea. Unlike VR helmets, glasses impose holograms on the real world, so the brain is not lost and does not believe that there is any threat for the organism.
Cons of Microsoft HoloLens
Limited power. Because of a rather compact design and the lack of a cooling system, the hardware is not as productive as it wanted to be. This limits both the set of functions and the picture quality.
Narrow viewing angle. It concerns both vision and sensors. So, it is possible to work with holograms only in the central area, and the periphery does not participate in it. You you can get used to it, like a ski mask or swimming glasses.
Little content. There are only 424 software products in the Microsoft store, and most of them are demo versions. There are very few really useful free applications, and commercial ones cost hundreds of dollars.
Elitism. Officially, the gadget is available for commercial companies and developers at a price of at least 3,000 USD. The version for ordinary users must be available at the end of 2018.
Microsoft HoloLens competitorsThere are very few mixed-reality gadgets on the market, and there are no options for ordinary customers at all. We will not compare HoloLens with virtual reality headsets because this is a completely different segment. Therefore, there are two competitors, the first one is not stand-alone, and the second one does not have a release model:
- Meta 2. It is very similar in design, but bigger and heavier and it can work only with a computer or a laptop. Its performance is higher, and the viewing angle and the field of virtual vision are wider. The price of Meta 2 starts from 950 USD which is three times cheaper than HoloLens.
- Magic Leap One. This product raised 2 billions of dollars of investment. It is much more compact glasses with full set of functions and machine sensors learning. However the picture quality and the prototype's capabilities turned out to be much lower than the ones claimed.
On the whole, before the real release of Magic Leap One, Meta 2 remains to be the most affordable glasses with the set of functions close to HoloLens. The Microsoft product is more suitable for commercial and educational companies.
Microsoft HoloLens design and ergonomicsThe glasses are like a bulky protective mask with a thick rim and a wide visor in their shape and size. They are smaller in size than the VR from Oculus and HTC, but compared to the elegant Google Glass — it is a real monster. The case is made of plastic and consists of two frames. The inner one is suitable for fixing on the head, the outer one is for adjusting the distance from the face. The front panel is a transparent mask made of strong glass behind which are the main lenses. Over the eyes and in the center of the visor are cameras to create a three-dimensional model of the environment.
As for the structural and control elements, the situation is as follows:
- Optical and infrared cameras with sensors — two cameras for head tracking above each eye, one depth camera for creating a model of the surface in the center and one — a standard camera for nearby shooting. What’s more, there are sensors of light and navigation which are also situated on the front panel.
- The speakers are on the outer frame at the bottom on the sides. They create sound environment and broadcast both real and virtual noise, and do it in the right direction.
- The volume and brightness buttons are on the outer frame at the top on the sides. They are small and quite comfortable, if you get used to them, you find them immediately with your fingers.
- The power button is on the right side edge of the outer frame. It turns the glasses on / off.
- The USB connector is on the outer frame at the top on the right. The charger is connected here.
- The 3.5 mm connector is on the outer frame at the top on the left. It is suitable for headphones.
- The adjustment ring is on the inner frame at the back at the top. It is used to fix the gadget on the head.
Microsoft HoloLens display and lensesUnlike virtual headsets, HoloLens uses a transparent visor on the basis of guided-wave optics and two projectors with LQoD displays, HD resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio that are located on the frame over the bridge of the nose. The combiner deals with processing and connects the real world with the virtual one.
The principle of operation is quite simple — prismatic lenses simultaneously let light from the real world (so a user sees real objects) and light from the projectors (so holograms appear). The system works thanks to the total internal reflection, which allows the lenses to pass the light through or to detain it.
Microsoft engineers have done a good job. The fact is that if the diffraction gratings are not correctly installed, holograms will float in the real world and will not be attached to objects, and this will cause severe nausea. But HoloLens does not have such an effect. At the same time, the complexity of the system is several times bigger than in VR headsets.
As for the shortcomings of the glasses, a small viewing angle — only 35 degrees which is clearly not enough for full-fledged work should be mentioned. In addition, holograms are projected only in the center of the lenses, so peripheral vision is not involved here. You get used to it after some time and it becomes convenient to work.
Microsoft HoloLens controllerThe native controller is included in the kit and it is somewhat similar to a garage door remote control unit in its design. The device is attached to the finger by an elastic loop, connects via Bluetooth and is charged from the grid via micro-USB. The gadget is simple, it has only one button. It was developed so that users’ hands do not get tired from making gestures. The clicker can be directed to virtual objects and users can interact with them: push buttons, turn on / off, scroll, drag, delete. In fact, it is just a virtual mouse. But it's convenient.
Microsoft HoloLens hardwareThe system is stand-alone, it operates on the basis of the Intel Atom x5-Z8100 chipset with a frequency of 1.04 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory. Prototypes worked on a 32-bit database, new versions — on a 64-bit one. The battery is designed for 16500 mAh, but this is enough for a maximum of 5.5 hours with a moderate load and for 2.5 hours — with a heavy one.
But the main pride and craftsmanship of developers demonstrates HPU, a holographic processor which is responsible for virtual objects processing. It has 24 cores! The processor runs at the speed of more than trillion operations with pixel per second, which is 200 times more than the standard software processing.
The design of glasses does not make it possible to install very powerful hardware in them also because there is no place for coolers. Now HoloLens is cooled passively, i.e. simply by ambient air. If you install a powerful processor, the system will overheat quickly.
Setting up and the beginning of work with Microsoft HoloLensTo enable the glasses, you need to fix them on your head with two frames. It is desirable to ask someone to help you for the first time. After turning on, you need to log into Microsoft Account and to calibrate the system. It takes a few minutes. You get used to the ergonomics and viewing angle after half an hour, not more. To understand how to deal with the device control a clever Microsoft assistant named Cortana helps you. There are four control options:
- Buttons. These are physical elements on the outer frame which regulate the volume and brightness of holograms.
- Voice. It is the main way to interact with Cortana plus the holograms control.
- Gestures. Cameras recognize hand movements and change virtual objects.
- Controller. To give your hands a rest you can use a virtual mouse with a clicker instead of gestures.
- Bloom — the opening of a clenched fist, it calls up the start menu.
- Air Tap — a finger touching of the mouse click type.
Software and games for Microsoft HoloLensThe basic control is carried out through the start menu, all the basic applications are already installed into the device's memory. The menu looks like a standard Windows 10 interface with tiles. There are still very few programs optimized for HoloLens, they are not similar to demo versions which show the potential of the system. But through the glasses you can run UWP — standard applications and games with Windows 10. You can work with them through the clicker and virtual keyboard, but you can always connect physical controllers via Bluetooth, including gamepads.
The official website has 424 applications, most of them are free demo versions. Among applications interesting and useful for ordinary users we can highlight the following ones:
- Skype for HoloLens. It is a good old Skype, now with holograms.
- HoloTour. It is a guide of Rome and Machu Picchu with 360-degree video and voluminous sound.
- Land of Dinosaurs. It is a portal in Jurassic Park full of dinosaurs.
- Insight Heart. It is the first medical application from the series, a holographic model of the heart.
- 3dDraw for HoloLens. It is a virtual easel for drawing in 3D.
- HoloStudy Demo. It is one of the best demos with a series of lessons in geology, physics, chemistry and biology.
- Fragments. It is a detective game with holographic scenes of crimes.
Microsoft HoloLens packaging and arrangement
The gadget is sold in a beautiful and expensive looking box. There are two smaller boxes inside with cases on zippies. In the set we find:
- Microsoft HoloLens glasses consisting of a front panel and a frame for the head.
- Internal frame for more secure attachment.
- Nose tip for added convenience.
- Controller-clicker with a single control button.
- Charging adapter.
- USB / micro-USB cable.
- A napkin for lenses.
Problems with the device and recommendations for using Microsoft HoloLens
Since ordinary users rarely buy the gadget, information about possible problems comes from the manufacturer, and only a few experts and journalists from the conferences share with their real experience of its usage. Among the frequent errors that users may come across the following ones can be mentioned:
- Freezes, slowing down, lack of response from the system.
- Arbitrary moving and simply crooked holograms.
- Holograms disappeared from the fixed places.
- Not working gestures, voice or controller.
- Error "little free space".
You can read guides, instructions, usage tips and problem solving recommendations on the official Microsoft HoloLens support website (in English).
Microsoft HoloLens - Alternatives
Showing 1-10 of 10 items.
|Google Glass 3.0
|Google Glass 2.0
|Lenovo Mirage Solo
|ACV HYPE SVR-FHD
|Epson Moverio BT-200
|Epson Moverio BT-300
|AR - See-through
|Field of view horizontal
|Field of view vertical
|32-bit Windows 10.0.11802.1033
|Minimum system requirements
|GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 или AMD Radeon R9 290; CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 или AMD FX 8350; Оперативная память: 4 ГБ или больше; Видеовыход: HDMI 1.4 или DisplayPort 1.2
|Windows 10 – Creators Update, Intel Desktop i7 или AMD Ryzen 7 1700, NVIDIA GTX 980/1060 - AMD Radeon RX 480 (8GB), RAM - 16 Гб
|Windows Mixed Reality
|Intel Atom X5-Z8100
|GPU - Video card
|Headphone input 3.5mm
|3DoF Turning head
|3DoF Rotation tracking
|6DoF Positional tracking
|Display port support
|External position sensor in space