Microsofts’s Hololens is an almost unique headset, elegant
and sleek, yet offering the transparency for vision along with the necessary
screen upon which computer-generated elements and notifications appear. Unlike
many other headsets on the market today, the Hololens is designed to be used
with augmented reality, rather than virtual reality.
To look at, the Microsoft Hololens has the appearance of a high-tech pair of sun-glasses – the futuristic ones such as might have been featured in science fiction films about space and time travel. The lens sits on a band which passes around the head which is fully adjustable for a most comfortable fit. The lenses are semi-opaque so it is relatively easy to see the real world through them, even as the augmented features are given best focus.
This deceptively simple design is packed full of hardware. There are a range of cameras and sensors, including ambient light sensor, depth perception camera and as many as four environment sensing cameras. All this hardware works in sync to make the augmented reality fit seamlessly and realistically into the real world setting against which they are displayed.
The hardware features superb sound quality and fabulous graphics – creating a faux reality that is almost clearer than the real world over which it is laid. It is designed with intuitive user friendliness and simple controls. The idea is for the headset to be all the user needs to navigate around their systems, but Microsoft have also produced a small ‘clicker’; a hand-held controller that operates much like a computer mouse to allow for even easier and more familiar navigation.
The design looks simple, but it rapidly becomes clear that a lot of skilled thought has gone into the device. It sits comfortably on the head, the lenses lining up well with the eyes, so that the user can wear it for a long time without experiencing any eyestrain, headache or other issues.
However, it is clear to reviewers why the Hololens is still only available to developers and is not yet on the commercial market. The field of view is not quite as far-reaching as it should be, the battery life is frankly disappointing, and the intuitiveness that should make using it a simple and even joyous process is not quite where it needs to be.Currently available for Microsoft’s developers for around US$3,000.00 – so that they can work on their apps and games and ensure that they work according to plan, it is expected that the domestic device for high-street customers will be released in time for Christmas 2018.