In a recent blog post, Microsoft has revealed images of the first HoloLens prototypes and outlined the process of creating the mixed reality technology.
“It’s no easy feat for a human to see the real world, to place holographic objects alongside real world objects, and to walk around with a headset on without feeling sick,” said Patrick Codd, engineer, Bay Area Staff. “The research that went into what makes humans nauseated, how to prevent that, and how to make images look sharp was not a trivial task.”
The team came up with several prototypes before achieving success. “Trying to put something like that on your head is very intimidating,” said Roy Riccomini, mechanical engineer, Microsoft. “The Microsoft team broke through tons of barriers, had tons of ideas for algorithms and actually made workable hardware that didn’t look nice and was plugged into the wall, but worked,” he added.
The team created a design that put minimal pressure on sensitive veins and arteries in human foreheads and temples that could lead to nausea.
“We have travelled around the world to find out that there are only five or six companies that have this technology, but none of them can go down to sub one pound per square inch of pressure,” said Michael Nikkhoo, senior director of Core Technology, Microsoft. “This was a tall, challenging order.”
Scott Fullam, senior director of new technology integration at Microsoft, described the feeling of finishing the project, “Once you’ve done all your design work and you’ve spent months and months and months collaborating with the software teams, the big a-ha moment is seeing the final hologram on the display, there’s nothing like it.”
Today, Japan Airlines uses HoloLens to allow trainee engineers to view working holograms of jet engines without having to take an expensive working component out of service. Swedish manufacturing firm Volvo uses it to allow customers to view modifications on a 3D model of the car, as well as for internal training purposes. Trimble, a software developer for architecture firms, uses the device to help visualise buildings in 3D. Ford is reinventing the way they do product design by blending 3D holograms digitally with both clay models and physical production vehicles. And at Case Western University, students take advantage of HoloLens to examine full-scale human bodies without the need for cadavers.
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