Microsoft has released a case-study Hololens video that they did with Case Western Reserve University. It shows what the holograms will look like from the viewpoint of the person wearing the HoloLens.
Much has been made of the field of view of the HoloLens, which is smaller than has been advertised in Microsoft’s demos. Kudo Tsunoda, a Microsoft executive, said that what we’ve seen from the HoloLens so far is probably what we’re going to get at launch. “I think you’re never going to get to full peripheral field of view, but certainly with the hardware we have the field of view isn’t exactly final. But I wouldn’t say it’s going to be hugely noticeably different either,” he told Giant Bomb during E3.
While wearing the HoloLens, you can see the holograms in a rectangular field directly in front of your face. The rest of your environment is still visible and slightly shaded, as if you’re looking through sunglasses. As you can see from the video, as you move your head the holograms are cut off at the edges of that field of view.
So that’s the reality of what we’ll see through the HoloLens. Does that make it less cool? Heck no!
In the video, professors at Case Western discuss the ways that HoloLens is helping students learn medicine. Being able to look at cross-sections of a human heart in 3-D helps students understand more than they would looking at a photograph. And of course…medical cadavers have their own limitations.
Finding new ways to visualize the human body and educate people about it is important. It’s exactly the kind of thing we hope HoloLens succeeds at. Before the launch failure of the SpaceX CRS-7 Falcon 9 rocket at the end of June, the HoloLens was also destined to help astronauts on the International Space Station work more closely with technicians on Earth.
The Sidekick program would have allowed instructions to be sent directly to the astronauts’ HoloLens, letting them share a viewfield with scientists on Earth and communicate more effectively. NASA will probably try again to send a HoloLens to space, though we’re not sure when.
In the meantime, Case Western has some other suggestions for ways we could use the HoloLens to educate people. Art history is one of the fields where the HoloLens could really shine—and one I’m particularly excited about.
The HoloLens doesn’t yet have a release date or a price. While the initial hardware might have its limitations, the HoloLens is an important step into serious augmented reality.