Augmented Reality with HoloLens
I just learned of the HoloLens and it's amazing. Virtual Reality has been around since nearly the dawn of the Web and never took off. More recent VR efforts have become more immersive, but I still don't see *the* factor that would attract me. With Augmented Reality I see a difference, I can think of so many practical and useful applications.
I really think Microsoft can pull this off; their ambition and resources will push this into the mainstream. VR technologies where you strap on a headset and the real world blacks out just doesn't gel with me. Maybe for an odd 5-10 minute game here or there, but to actually want it or want to develop for it? No thanks.
Augmented Reality on the other hand keeps you in touch with reality, actually keeps the physical world as a major component of what you are doing. The physical world shapes how you interact with the virtual. Creating and sharing are at the head of the line.
That's why the HoloLens is completely different and so much more appealing. Within minutes of hearing about it and seeing what it can do my mind was buzzing with ideas, things I was keen to start making now. I have sketched a number of them out already.
The question I now have is when will the Dev kit be released and how much will it cost. Hopefully more will be announced at the upcoming Build Conference.
The big play
Now I know why Microsoft bought Minecraft for two billion dollars. HoloLens. The demo video of playing Minecraft on your table or in a "hole" in your wall is just so impressive. It will be the killer-app that will drive adoption and get kids asking for it for Christmas and birthdays.
In the wild
Although gaming is a clear market for AR I see this technology also taking off in a new world of toys, education and GLAM.
Toys would be transformational. A physical toy could take on super powers only bounded by the imagination of the user. Two objects could "come alive" just by bringing them close to one another. Entire fields of lava or jungles could cover a bedroom floor and the only hope for survival is to retrieve the prized toy before the lava spreads.
Education — students will interact with learning in new, exciting ways. Concepts that may be difficult to comprehend can be more easily digested. Data can be overlayed on a physical surface and by using gestures the student can easily interact.
The GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums) sector has so many potential use cases as well. I can imagine walking through a Museum and following a virtual tour based on what I am interested in. It could even display the countless artefacts that are not on show to the public. I could interact with whatever caught my interest. And very much like the Connections TV series of the 70's I could follow how a modern invention was created by a sea of seemingly disparate innovations.
This is only scratching the surface. As with any technology it takes years and years to really master the medium.
Exciting times ahead.
What do you think?
What are your thoughts on Augmented Reality? Are you buying into the hype? I would love to hear your opinion or get some feedback so please add a comment or drop me a line on Twitter: @davidseth.