15 minutes with Hololens

Above: The HoloLens demo we participated in.

By Mohit Singh

Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive an exclusive invite for a 15 minute HoloLens demo at Microsoft Build 2015.

With only one hour’s notice, I rushed to the Intercontinental Hotel where Microsoft had taken over one of the floors.

One of the friendly product team members escorted me from the front desk and as I made my way up. On the way, I passed more than ten guards protecting the area. My phone and Microsoft Band were confiscated as photos, video and audio recordings were strictly prohibited.

Initially I expected to see a gimicky demo and an oversold product, however spending 15 minutes with the HoloLens proved that I was completely wrong. In fact it truly blew me away. It was a magical experience.

6 observations from 15 minutes with HoloLens:

1) Holographic Quality – All holographic objects including “Richard” the AI architect in the demo had beautiful colours and great pixel density with the exception of the 3D model built in Google Sketchup. This is one of the reasons why holographic objects blended so well with the real world. If it was pixelated, it wouldn’t feel right.

2) Motion sickness – unlike other VR technology, there was no dizziness or motion sickness felt when objects moved around me, or when I moved around them. I could still see the real world as a reference point so there was no disorientation.

3) The Holographic View finder – The viewfinder was smaller then expected. It’s the same feeling when you buy a 50″ TV, but then later think that you should have bought the 65″ instead. Hopefully this is something that will improve in the final version.

4) Indoor pinning – It was impressive to see the steadiness of holographic objects on the wall and the ability to remain stationary as I moved around in all directions. It felt a lot more natural in my environment than I had anticipated.

5) Continuum, from PC to reality – As part of the demo, there was a task to move the mouse pointer from the 2D desktop monitor into the 3D world. This was the point where the Microsoft’s vision of holographic continuum (digital life blurring with reality) truly drilled the point home. The feeling was surreal.

6) User Interaction – having to calibrate your finger with respect to your surroundings everytime you try do an action can become a slow workflow and could potentially be tiresome. Voice should play a key role in the final model.

Hololens looks promising, however no pricing or release dates have been announced yet.


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