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Microsoft Technology

Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles 171

First time accepted submitter mkukuluk writes Forget Google Glass — Jessi Hempel describes the amazing experience she had with the new Holographic goggles from Microsoft. From the article: "The headset is still a prototype being developed under the codename Project Baraboo, or sometimes just “B.” [inventor Alex] Kipman, with shoulder-length hair and severely cropped bangs, is a nervous inventor, shifting from one red Converse All-Star to the other. Nervous, because he’s been working on this pair of holographic goggles for five years. No, even longer. Seven years, if you go back to the idea he first pitched to Microsoft, which became Kinect. When the motion-sensing Xbox accessory was released, just in time for the 2010 holidays, it became the fastest-selling consumer gaming device of all time. Right from the start, he makes it clear that Baraboo will make Kinect seem minor league."
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Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

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  • this is awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @12:39AM (#48872817)

    wearable glasses are dead, long live wearable glasses! srsly though, MS approach makes sense. GG never made sense. projecting data onto your visor for real-time augmented reality? that's cool.

    • GG never made sense. projecting data onto your visor for real-time augmented reality? that's cool.

      Onto or into? That makes a huge difference here.

  • Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @12:45AM (#48872839)

    The team they have working on this is excellent, the idea is promising, the reviews are great, and the advertising is good. Looks like a solid win. If they have good patents on it, they should be able to control a large and growing market 5-10 years out.

    • If they have good patents on it, they should be able to control a large and growing market 5-10 years out.

      William Gibson and others have prior art. Not sure if you watched "Minority Report", or if you have read Gibson's "Virtual Light", but both describe this sort of thing in immense detail. It's basically a straight forward interposition strategy with slightly smaller hardware than has typically been used in the past.

      The real issue that's going to come up is idiots wearing these things while driving, and so on, which is actually not as idiotic as it sounds, but will definitely be illegal as hell for no reaso

    • What reviews?

  • by Macfox ( 50100 ) * on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:10AM (#48872915) Homepage
    How does this device handle a dull or dark holographic image projected in a bright environment?
    • How does this device handle a dull or dark holographic image projected in a bright environment?

      I don't think it projects anything, the power supply would be... well larger, I would think the hologram is created in the goggles which you would see as an item where it should be expected to be, on the wall, table, in the air.

      I did check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] before this reply, to quote:

      A hologram can be copied optically by illuminating it with a laser beam, and locating a second hologram plate so that it is illuminated both by the reconstructed object beam, and the illuminating beam. Stability and coherence requirements are significantly reduced if the two plates are located very close together.[42] An index matching fluid is often used between the plates to minimize spurious interference between the plates. Uniform illumination can be obtained by scanning point-by-point or with a beam shaped into a thin line.

      So knowing as much about them as you, the goggles are most likely two plates with an fluid separating them, the holograms being produced on the fly

      There also exist holographic materials that do not need the developing process and can record a hologram in a very short time.

      While I choose the quotes to show how it could be done within t

    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @04:03AM (#48873441) Homepage

      Q. How does one subtract light?

      A. One could have a layer of LCD pixels that block/pass light as required.

      • You all learned the answer in high school: if you have a wave, then you can reduce its amplitude or extinguish it by adding a copy if the same signal with the opposite phase.

        This has been done to reduce acoustical noise, but it's rather harder to accomplish with light waves. But then, holography is all about interference.

    • Don't get confused by the marketdroids calling this 'hollographic'. It's nice stereo, but it's stereo. Holograms require no headgear.

      Words having distinct meanings is a useful feature of language.

  • by MBC1977 ( 978793 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:13AM (#48872925) Journal
    Granted this is just an interesting concept at the moment, however I think Microsoft may have something worthwhile here. The only thing is lacking (or missing rather) is a tactile interface - so that one could "feel" virtual objects.

    I'll be paying attention to this, because I think this could be a game changer.
    • by qpqp ( 1969898 )
      Glasses with NUI:
      Meta AR [spaceglasses.com] Haptic feedback:
      ring [singularityhub.com] Or one of the "glove" concepts
    • A pair of gloves with some sort of force feedback perhaps?
    • by bwcbwc ( 601780 )

      Granted this is just an interesting concept at the moment, however I think Microsoft may have something worthwhile here. The only thing is lacking (or missing rather) is a tactile interface - so that one could "feel" virtual objects.

      I'll be paying attention to this, because I think this could be a game changer.

      It's probably more than just a concept. They're marketing it like it will be out for holiday season 2015. It looks like they view this as the "killer app" for Windows 10. The closing of the ad shows both the Windows 10 and Microsoft logos in sequence.

      I wonder how it'll play with an HP Sprout or a 3-D printer.

    • so that one could "feel" virtual objects.

      This is Slashdot. Why not come out and say straight away that you want to feel virtual boobies, then the conversation will get all hung up on the term "boobies" and you'll have made your point: it's all about interactive porn.

    • Being able to "feel" would kill off the prostitution business in a second, wouldn't it?

      he he he
  • very interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:19AM (#48872939)

    Certainly looks a lot more interesting and viable than google glass. Once google pushed the wear it anywhere video camera recording what everyone is doing it became socially a dead product. Lets wait and see if MS can productize it without making the idiotic mistakes of google that led to the highly deserved coining of the word glasshole.

    • by Knossos ( 814024 )

      I think that the difference here is that the HoloLens won't be intended for outdoor use. It is way too conspicuous. People hated the relatively tiny Google Glass.

      Instead, I think it will focus more on improving home and office life. From the videos I have seen, I can imagine a world where you can have additional virtual computer monitors to display information that you typically won't interact with. Such as logging information during coding. I would have IRC windows displayed on walls inside my house. When

    • If you wear one in public and try to interact with me I'm totally calling you a HoloDick. However, I'm still totally buying one.
  • by lippydude ( 3635849 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:23AM (#48872957)
    AR-Rift: Stereo camera rig and augmented reality showcase [youtube.com]

    What is Presence in Immersive Augmented Reality? [willsteptoe.com]

    "In a previous post I presented the AR-Rift, a low-cost immersive video see-through AR head-mounted display based on the Oculus Rift DK1 and consumer cameras. Technology affording similar experiences will begin to emerge at a consumer level in the coming years."
  • This is the first time I have been genuinely excited about any Microsoft product since Windows 7.

    This is something I would definitely use.

    I can imagine overlaying debugging screens above my computer monitors. Moving more work off my precious screen real estate without needing several new monitors. The potential for something like this is limitless. Provided it really works like we have been shown.

  • Holograms? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arkh89 ( 2870391 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @01:52AM (#48873041)

    No, it is still not holography. It has exactly nothing to do with holography.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Where did you read what technique it is using for imaging?
      • It's using augmented reality. It is doing so via additive transmission into each eye to allow for 3D images. Holograms are technically different technology, but I'll give MS a pass on this... it's personal 3D images.
        • by mark-t ( 151149 )
          If it is presenting different images to each eye to create the illusion of depth, then it is definitely *NOT* holography.... holography uses just a single image that, all by itself, will appear different from different angles because it is a 3d optical representation of whatever the hologram is an image of.
    • by jcupitt65 ( 68879 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @03:57AM (#48873423)

      It's not using simple stereo screens, they have lightfield projectors:

      Project HoloLens is built, fittingly enough, around a set of holographic lenses. Each lens has three layers of glassâ"in blue, green, and redâ"full of microthin corrugated grooves that diffract light. There are multiple cameras at the front and sides of the device that do everything from head tracking to video capture. And it can see far and wide: The field of view spans 120 degrees by 120 degrees, significantly bigger than that of the Kinect camera. A âoelight engineâ above the lenses projects light into the glasses, where it hits the grating and then volleys between the layers of glass millions of times. That process, along with input from the device's myriad sensors, tricks the eye into perceiving the image as existing in the world beyond the lenses.

      http://www.wired.com/2015/01/microsoft-nadella/ [wired.com]

      They track eye movement and adjust for that as well. I think you need the lightfield stuff so that the eye if forced to adapt focus for different distances, it's a depth cue that Oculus don't have.

      It'll be interesting to see what frame rate and latency they achieve. It sounds like they have a lot of hardware in the headset, so it could be quite good. Plus they only need to render the bit right in the centre of the field of view at high quality.

      • It won't be quick. Lightfield calculations are expensive even on modern hardware, nevermind cramming all that into a headset. John Carmack's comments on coding for mobiles are relevant here. Even with ASICs - there's only so much you can get away with.

        • Judging from the various articles I've read, the glasses have a CPU for general computation, a GPU for rendering, and a custom built, specialized processor to handle the light field computation and depth aspects.

          Which really makes me wonder about battery life, given that the device is wireless.

          But, if anything, I would say these things are over supplied with horsepower and are quite capable of rendering in the technical sense.

  • I don't buy it. I don't buy it. To project virtual objects into the real world required precise head tracking and real-time adjustment of virtual images. It also requires a very powerful video card. To project virtual objects and actually make them look solid takes even more power, both in terms of processing ability and brightness. The description of these glasses looks like it came straight from science fiction. I'll believe it when can see and test them myself and not a moment sooner.
    • All in the realm of possibility. You can get precise head tracking with a combination of optical and depth sensors fused with compass and gyro sensors. I haven't tried this device, but have seen promising results from similar tech.

      The video card doesn't have to be very powerful. In fact, since you aren't rendering a background you can devote all of your video card's power to the virtual objects.

      Projecting solid images on a transparent display--now THAT'S a trick.

      I can't wait to try these.

  • inventor ?!?!??!?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @05:22AM (#48873675) Homepage

    > [inventor Alex] Kipman ... idea he first pitched to Microsoft, which became Kinect

    so he invented Kinect? hmm nope, that would be Primesense cleverly going around earlier patents on structure light (for example Viewpoint Corps US6549288 filled in 1999) by using random instead of striped dot pattern.

    maybe Kipman invented original Natal aka Kinect 2 aka time of flight depth camera? hmmm nope, that would be 2 or 3 whole companies M$ bought (3DV, Canesta) spending over 1 Billion dollars before settling on ready to sell Primesense camera in the end.

    What exactly did he invent? He is a manager at M$, not engineer.

  • ...Kipman, with shoulder-length hair and severely cropped bangs...

    This is the central message here: this is a guy with shoulder-long hair. That is some impressive street-cred right there, but I'm worried that we hear nothing about whether he uses a tie and suit.

    Hmm, am I being too sarcastic? It just gets up my nose when tech-news are presented in a cloud of inconsequential nattering. If this is worth hearing about, surely it can stand on its own merits.

  • by Casualposter ( 572489 ) on Thursday January 22, 2015 @10:37AM (#48875359) Journal

    But how well would it work for people with prescription eye glasses? Nobody in the demo is wearing eye-glasses - 60% of Americans have to wear glasses and only about 13% of Americans wear contacts. So that leaves over a hundred million Americans having to cram this thing over their glasses just to use it or not buy it at all. It seems that this suffers from the same issue that Google Glass had - prescription eye care. 3D movies are ruined for folks with glasses - try stuffing two sets of glasses on your head for a couple of hours - it flat out sucks. The selection of headphones is limited by how comfortable they are with glasses on for an hour or more. So why would this technology be any better?

    The article focuses on how cool it is without addressing the actual practicality of having one - how heavy is it? How likely is it to survive five hundred or more impacts with the floor? What happens when the cat sit in it while it is lying on the desk? Besides a couple of gimmicky things, who cares? How is holography on the inside of my helmet better than a computer screen? I keep hearing about how much cooler it is, but not how much better it is than what I have now. Why is it better? A holographic display is not going to be any more enlightening than a regular display. Besides we already see the world in 3D. I really just don't get why this is anything but "cool" like 3D movies were in the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's, etc. It's a gimmick.

    • But how well would it work for people with prescription eye glasses?...(snip)...3D movies are ruined for folks with glasses - try stuffing two sets of glasses on your head for a couple of hours - it flat out sucks.

      3D movies still have never delivered on their promise for anyone. It's just not a comfortable format for film.

    • It's the lightfield that's the kicker. Because that makes it NOT a simple 'picture projected onto a surface'. With this technology, your eyes should be able to focus on different parts of the image and actually getting the results your eyes expect.

      Thus it should be possible to include a correction for near- or farsightedness. Your other complaints are merely showing your lack of imagination.

  • lots of issues with current attempts and room to improve
  • You want to see 3D with something strapped to your face, Google Cardboard is the tool to compare this to, not Google Glass.

    If you are comparing prices, well, maybe Glass is what to compare it to.

  • This is exactly how the Cylons came to be, with Holobands (see the short-lived Battle Star Galactica spin off series, Caprica). A holographic head band in which users can escape the real world to a virtual reality with their own avatar with the ability to interact with over avatars. My only concern here is will they have a stupid looking start menu? I think Google would be more of a success in such a product, if it can evolve the GG.

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