Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens technology at the same time it unveiled the Windows 10 preview. The technology that will likely supersede Kinect promises to revolutionize user interaction with the world around them, enabling new gaming experiences and other applications in several industries, health being one of them.
HoloLens can work with a paired computer or phone, but also without it since it has its own CPU and GPU. The setting consists of a pair of goggles and a small block that hangs around the neck that contains all the computing power and includes lenses, tiny projectors, motion sensors, and speakers. This combo creates holograms and an innovative UI that enables users to manipulate virtual objects with nothing but gestures.
Right now, it’s unclear when the first HoloLens units will start selling.Project HoloLens’ realistic holograms trick one’s brain into seeing light as matter. “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,” said Alex Kipman, who has been working with a team to develop the technology for the past five years. “If I could magically turn the debugger on, we’d see photons bouncing throughout this world. Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is. You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see.”
One of the demonstrations for the HoloLens Microsoft made was the integration with Skype which obviously hinted this technology is well fit for telehealth services. In addition, HoloLens could also be used for simulations of medical procedures, medical education and medical device development. For instance, a surgical team could use it to prepare for a complex surgery. Or to make medical consults more interactive. Biomedical engineers could rely on this technology to develop more customized devices.
When it comes to medical education, physicians could rely on HoloLens to give patients a better understanding of an upcoming procedure.
Right now, it’s unclear when the first HoloLens units will start selling. Microsoft may opt for some explorer model sales which proved beneficial for Google Glass. Or they could make a reference design and let OEM partners take care of manufacturing. We would bet on the former model, but you never know. We’ll be watching for any HoloLens news and get back to you as soon as we have something new to add. Stay tuned…