8 Ways HoloLens 2 is changing the world

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Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is a seismic step forward for wearable tech and augmented reality. Here’s a look at how the new headset is changing the world — from healthcare to entertainment.

  • What is HoloLens 2? It’s the second generation of Microsoft’s augmented reality headset, released earlier this month.
  • What are the best new features of HoloLens 2? The headset offers a wider field of view and much better resolution. It’s also much lighter than its predecessor, thanks to a carbon fiber design.
  • Where can you buy HoloLens 2 and how much does it cost? Right now, only businesses can pre-order HoloLens 2. The headset is priced at an eye-watering $3,500.

It is nearly three years since Microsoft released the original HoloLens mixed reality headset. Back in 2016, the device seemed futuristic. In the time since, augmented reality has come on in leaps and bounds.

Microsoft sought to reassert its technological dominance last week at the Mobile World Conference, with the official unveiling of HoloLens 2. The new device is packed with upgrades — but who will buy it? And what purposes will it serve?

Here’s how HoloLens 2 is changing the world.

Better augmented reality

Up until now, augmented reality has shown great potential — but the execution has been a little disappointing. Most headsets have been heavy, with a restricted view and limited battery life.

In contrast, HoloLens 2 shows how good AR can be. With 2k resolution for each eye, a wider field of view, precise eye-tracking, and a powerful Snapdragon processor, this headset provides a truly immersive experience.

augmented reality - 8 Ways HoloLens 2 is changing the world

HoloLens 2 offers major upgrades

A new kind of interface

You know that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character uses his hands to manipulate digital content in mid air? That sci-fi dream is becoming a reality, thanks to HoloLens 2.

The headset has a built-in camera that can detect hand movements. This means you can easily zoom, twist and spin digital objects using instinctive gestures. In addition, HoloLens 2 offers voice control with natural language programming — useful when your hands are full.

augmented reality - 8 Ways HoloLens 2 is changing the world

Gesture controls with HoloLens 2

Shaping the future of gaming

Thus far, most people who have experienced augmented reality have done so through playing Pokémon Go. But the technology is capable of far more within a gaming context.

Epic Games are the makers of Fortnite, Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, and Infinity Blade. All of those titles are based on Unreal Engine 4, which will soon support HoloLens. That means that thousands of developers will have the opportunity to create new AR content, using software that is familiar.

While this is no use for home gamers at the moment, it could be good for virtual arcades.

Making virtual meetings more personal

While HoloLens 2 is undoubtedly a fun product for consumers, Microsoft is actually aiming the headset more at businesses.

Among the many uses for the headset is telepresence. When you can’t get everyone in the same room, HoloLens 2 offers the next best thing. With the headset on, you can see a holographic, life-like avatar version of all your colleagues. The technology also allows everyone to see the same 3D model simultaneously. Toy maker, Mattel, is already running meetings this way.

Enhancing the arts

Although the AR technology is still relatively niche, many top galleries and creative brands are developing mixed reality content. The BBC, Google, Ford, and the Van Gogh Museum have all commissioned such projects in recent times. HoloLens 2 will encourage many more to follow suit.

Artist Mel Chin showed last year what the technology can do, with his mixed reality work, Unmoored. The display, made for the original HoloLens, allows wearers of the headset to see ships floating above their heads.

Helping doctors with surgery

Surgery is never easy. Every patient is a little different, meaning surgeons have to adapt to what they find. However, their task could soon become much easier, thanks to HoloLens 2.

By overlaying the body with CT scans and 3D digital models, doctors wearing the headset are able to “see inside” their patients before making an incision. The technology has already been tested by doctors at St Mary’s Hospital in the UK.

Assisting engineers on the job

Although the stakes aren’t quite as high, engineers often face the same kind of complex challenges as those encountered by surgeons. For this reason, it’s expected that HoloLens 2 will make an impact on the world of construction.

In the demo below, you can see how the technology could allow architects and engineers to plan new developments.

Providing instant education

HoloLens 2 is way too expensive and fragile to be used in schools. But the headset is still likely to serve an educational purpose.

Microsoft envisages that senior technicians will be able to pass on information quickly to their juniors using augmented reality. Workers will be able to watch tutorials as they work, without pulling out their smartphone. Never again will anyone have to guess which color wire to cut.

The future of AR?

With HoloLens 2 aimed at the enterprise market, few of us will get a chance to experience this remarkable device. However, the technology that Microsoft has developed points towards the future of consumer AR headsets.

What do you think about HoloLens 2? Do you think businesses will invest? Share your opinions in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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