Here at Bit Space Development, we work with all sorts of new technologies all the time, but few devices have us as excited as Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens 2 headset. When this device ships, it will forever change how people get big projects done.
HoloLens isn’t new. Bit Space Development has been working with the first-generation HoloLens headset for several years, but the headsets were never available in large quantities (you can’t buy them anymore), so we’ve never promoted HoloLens as a viable solution for our customers. Until now, that is.
If you’re reading this and you’re not quite sure what a HoloLens is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people have never seen or even heard of Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. But, if you work in manufacturing, construction, product design or a specialist medical field, your workplace will likely soon take advantage of HoloLens 2. And it will make your jobs easier, safer, and more efficient in more ways than you can imagine.
HoloLens is what Microsoft calls a Mixed Reality (MR) headset. It’s a tool that brings the digital world into the physical world in ways we could only dream of just a few years ago.
MR is similar to Augmented Reality (AR). However, MR understands the environment around it and enables digital assets to interact with the objects around you. With HoloLens, you can view a virtual prototype product sitting on the desk in front of you. Or, you could visualize a newly designed expansion to a building in full-scale while you’re standing next to the real building. We even have clients who have imagined training their people with HoloLens headsets.
HoloLens 2 is going to be an excellent tool for businesses in the coming months and years. The possibilities of mixed reality are genuinely endless.
When Microsoft introduced the first HoloLens headset, the technology knocked the socks off of everyone who tried it, but it wasn’t very practical. The field of view was narrow, and it wasn’t comfortable enough for extended wear. Worst of all, the controls weren’t intuitive, which gave it a steep learning curve. In other words, it wasn’t a good fit for most businesses.
Microsoft redesigned the HoloLens 2 with those shortcomings in mind, so you can rest assured that the company improved the new device on all fronts.
HoloLens 2 is much lighter than the original headset. Microsoft constructed the new visor from lightweight, durable carbon fibre to reduce the weight that hangs in front of your face. The designers also moved the computing power to the rear of the headset for even weight distribution.
HoloLens 2 is also easy to put on and take off. It features adjustable head straps on each side, which you can tighten with a large dial found on the rear of the headset, but it otherwise pulls over your head like any kind of hat or helmet that you would wear.
The most exciting aspect of the new HoloLens technology is perhaps the way you interact with it. The original HoloLens supported basic hand gestures to open, close, and move applications around. However, the headset wasn’t great at deciphering your movements, and the gestures were not easy to perform, and they didn’t feel natural.
With HoloLens 2, Microsoft redesigned and vastly improved the way you manipulate the digital world. Rather than using an arbitrary pinch or swipe motion, you can now reach out and touch virtual objects to interact with them.
HoloLens 2 features advanced hand tracking that can detect individual digits with precision. And the system supports virtual buttons and levers that function just as you would expect real buttons and levers to work.
Microsoft calls that Instinctual Interaction.
HoloLens 2 also includes eye-tracking cameras that enable automatic sign-in with Windows Hello face recognition technology. The eye trackers can also be used for gaze-based interactions with menus and digital objects, eliminating the need for hand gestures to perform basic processes.
Microsoft also drastically improved the display of HoloLens 2. I won’t bore you with the details of how the company’s fancy MEMS displays and Waveguide technology works. All you need to know is the displays in the HoloLens 2 are superior to the screens in the original version in every possible way.
Microsoft said HoloLens 2 gives you twice as big of a window into the virtual world, the screens have a much higher resolution, and the new display is brighter than the old one. All of which add up to a vastly improved visual experience.
Bit Space Development has partnerships with companies in the construction and manufacturing industries, and HoloLens technology could benefit them in significant ways. However, as it stands, HoloLens headsets wouldn’t be compliant with the safety requirements for such a job site.
Those safety regulations often prevent the use of advanced technologies such as mixed reality, just because tech devices aren’t built to the required standards. That’s why we’re so excited about Microsoft’s HoloLens Customization Program, which enables companies to make tailor-made HoloLens equipment that meets the standards that they require.
Trimble, a company that makes rugged tech devices for agriculture, construction, and the geospatial industries, is one of the first partners to embrace the customization program and it’s preparing to launch a HoloLens-certified hard hat alongside the standard HoloLens 2 later this year called the Trimble XR10.
We don’t know much about the headset yet, but we expect that our clients will be very interested in this device.
Pay attention to the Bit Space Blog for more information about Trimble XR10 later this year. We’ll have more to say about the HoloLens 2 soon.
In the meantime, if you’ve got an idea for a fantastic mixed reality application for your business, fire us a message. We’d love to help you build it.