Microsoft XR Boss Says HoloLens 3 Will be a Transformative Leap
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset targets the enterprise market. What does Microsoft’s next-generation mixed reality headset, the HoloLens 3, portend? Does it target everybody?
The Microsoft HoloLens 1 was unveiled as a device that mainly targeted companies. The HoloLens 2 was entirely geared towards industrial use. What about the next generation HoloLens, the HoloLens 3?
Towards the end of 2019, HoloLens optics boss Bernhard Kress had announced that the HoloLens 3 wouldn’t be targeting the end-user market because the technology and application scenarios weren’t mature yet.
In a chat with the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft’s head of AI and mixed reality projects Alex Kipman commented on the company’s HoloLens strategy and confirmed that the company was actually working on an Augmented Reality headset for everyone and not just for the enterprise market.
Kipman, however, believes that fundamental technical improvements are necessary before the great AR vision of the technology becoming more mainstream becomes a reality. The mixed reality headset could offer better immersion, particularly when it comes to the field of vision and possibly the haptics, but also in terms of the comfort and useful application scenarios for everyone.
Additionally, the HoloLens mixed reality headset would also have to be socially acceptable, that is, they shouldn’t be too creepy or conspicuous. There are also fundamental questions on data protections particularly with regard to the built-in tracking cameras that have to be clarified.
Microsoft is pursuing these improvements for the HoloLens 3 headset. However, how and when these can be realized cannot yet be seen on any development plan. There is still a lot of basic research left to be done to realize these features.
According to Kipman, the weight of the HoloLens 2 still has to be reduced from its current 550 grams to 90 grams and the power consumption will have to go down from eight to two watts and with a higher total output as the current HoloLens is technically too limited for useful everyday application scenarios.
Kipman is aiming at a “transformative leap” for the HoloLens 3 headset compared to the HoloLens 2. The second-generation HoloLens represented a linear development of the HoloLens 1 and made little progress, particularly with the screen. Kipman says many of the improvements mentioned above are said to be in HoloLens 3.
Kipman didn’t reveal when the new AR mixed reality headset could appear. The company was working on it but it would take a little time, he said.
In expanding the ecosystem, Microsoft wants to pursue an open approach and partner with companies like Epic and Niantic.