February 24, 2019 – Microsoft has announced today in a press event at MWC Barcelona details of its new HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset. Microsoft stated that it has addressed its customers’ feedback on its current HoloLens headset and as a result, the new design is based around three key areas that focus on making HoloLens 2 more immersive, more comfortable and to accelerate the time-to-value of the headset.
Immersion has been enhanced by advancements across the board, including in the visual display system, making holograms even more vibrant and realistic according to the company. Microsoft has more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight.
The company stated that HoloLens 2 contains a new display system that enables the headset to achieve what the company states are “significant advances in performance” at low power. The way in which a user interacts with holograms in HoloLens 2 has also been completely refreshed. Taking advantage of Microsoft’s new time-of-flight depth sensor, combined with built-in AI and semantic understanding, HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same interactions that would be used with physical objects in the real world.
In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms more natural. Users will be able to log in with Windows Hello enterprise-grade authentication through iris recognition, allowing for multiple people to quickly and securely share the device.
Wearer comfort has been improved by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fiber material and a new mechanism for donning the device without re-adjusting. Microsoft has also improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology, and accounted for the wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone.
The new dial-in fit system supposedly makes the headset comfortable to wear for hours on end. It also allows users to keep their glasses on, as HoloLens 2 is able to simply slide over them. Furthermore, HoloLens 2’s visor can be flipped up in order to step out of mixed reality and switch tasks. Microsoft stated that these enhancements “have more than tripled the measured comfort and ergonomics of the device.”
Microsoft has several mixed reality applications such as Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications. Furthermore, the company stated that its ecosystem of mixed reality partners provides a broad range of offerings built on HoloLens that deliver value across a range of industries and use cases.
Commenting on the release of HoloLens 2, Julia White, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure, said: “We are entering a new era of computing, one in which the digital world goes beyond two-dimensional screens and enters the three-dimensional world. This new collaborative computing era will empower us all to achieve more, break boundaries and work together with greater ease and immediacy in 3D.”
HoloLens 2 will be available this year at a price of USD $3,500. Bundles including Dynamics 365 Remote Assist start at $125/month. HoloLens 2 will be initially available in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. Customers can pre-order HoloLens 2 starting today from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/buy.
Video credit: Microsoft/YouTube