Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, is now available for pre-order in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.
The devices, which were first unveiled in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the US on 31 March 2016, will now ship to the additional regions in late November.
“Since the launch of Microsoft HoloLens, we have seen really passionate developers and world-class companies develop ground-breaking computing experiences – experiences only possible on HoloLens,” said Alex Kipman, technical fellow in the Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. “When we set out to pioneer the mixed reality category, we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology. It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”
Various organisations have already worked with Microsoft to develop applications for HoloLens, including thyssenkrupp Elevator, which will use the devices to reduce service intervention times by up to four times. US retailer Lowe’s Home Improvement will use HoloLens to help customers make quick decisions about their home improvement projects, while Case Western Reserve University in the US will use the devices to teach anatomy.
Meanwhile, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has used HoloLens to enable Earth-based scientists to operate the Curiosity Mars Rover, and to allow the public to virtually walk around Mars at the ‘Destination: Mars’ exhibition at the Kennedy Space Center. Two devices on the International Space Station enable station crews to get remote expert assistance when completing tasks, and the ProtoSpace HoloLens application will enable NASA to build the next generation of spacecraft and space rovers.
Commercial partners such as Airbus, and vehicle manufacturers Audi and Saab are piloting HoloLens to see how it can help to transform the way their teams work, communicate and collaborate.
“A technology like Microsoft HoloLens could open up new opportunities for our services in many ways – from engineering reviews and collaboration to after-sales scenarios and new ways of customer experiences,” said Jan Pflüger, coordination augmented and virtual reality at Audi IT. “A mixed reality solution like HoloLens seems very promising in helping us improve service quality, innovate on our customer communication, and cut time and costs required for maintenance.”
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