First Impressions of the Hololens – sit down while reading!

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One word – #AWESOME!!!!! The packaging makes you feel like you’re about to ride a high end sports car, or ski with some serious ski gear. Very slick packaging.

To be honest I wasn’t certain of what to expect when taking the Hololens for a spin. Was it going to be like going to a 3D movie where 15 mins into the movie you forget you’re in a 3D movie and the ‘3D-ness’ isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be….

Putting it on for the first time there’s a little bit of weight to the unit, so be sure to get the head strap tightened right so the Hololens doesn’t sit totally on the bridge of your nose (you can pull the glasses away from you nose and have them sit out in space).

The first thing that hits you is the ‘holographic’ nature of it. Two screens on the left and right eye present the 3D picture right in front of you. Walking closer makes it bigger and walking away makes it smaller – it doesn’t just travel at a fixed distance.

Volume + Brightness controls make a nice touch for tuning your environment.

Calibration – after the friendly walk through from Cortana the unit was calibrated and we’re ready to rock.

One time only – had to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and enter my Microsoft Account details. This was a bit painful given the onscreen keyboard and just getting to know the unit.

Wow! Where do I start! You’ve got the familiar Win10 experience and Store functionality along with Cortana to get help – you can even ask her “What’s my IP address?” and she comes back with the goods.

The first thing I did was head off to the store and download Skype + the games 🙂

It’s sensor rich!!!! motion, space, kinect type camera on the front sensing movement, objects etc – think joint minecraft by all.

Right off the bat – during calibration there’s a few hand gestures you’re given and a couple of voice commands. So armed with a little knowledge I’m ready to take on the world.

The amazing thing is that you can launch for e.g. IE and pin it to a wall. When you come back to the wall, you can see the IE again (or whatever app you’ve got) – so I immediately covered my room with photos. Everywhere I looked – roof, floor, walls …different ones on different slide shows etc. You could even pin your favourite browser based TV series somewhere in the house too.

Spacial awareness – the unit is amazing in this area as it maps out your environment/place/work etc. You can walk down hallways, up stairs, balconies and the unit will remember what you’ve played with in each room. (You can even see the model the unit has generated from your environment through the browser).

The unique thing – is the interaction in space, we talk about augmented reality and totally immersive technologies, but having the blend of the real world and computer simulated world coming through just made for an amazing experience.

Talking to a friend while looking over the latest sports results is a very unique situation indeed & while listening to everything they say 🙂

Development – it’s a Win10 device!!! 

Development is done through familiar tools such as VS.NET, and a good understanding of 3D meshes, models and maps makes for a great experience in Hololens. You most definitely can have ‘flat apps’ that you pin to a wall – e.g. photos, IE etc. but the unit comes to life when it sees 3D.

The hard part is conveying the awesomeness seen by you to the person next to you….“Did you see that!!” “No I’m just looking at a wall”

I discovered in the settings sections (similar to Win10 IOT Core) we can control the unit through the browser – as soon as I enabled that through settings I get the view of a lifetime!!! You can record what the wearer is seeing and doing as in my videos.

Here’s some samples…. (NOTE: I had to grab them at a lower resolution. There are no ‘holes’ or black spots in the final vision. I just think this was from the real time recording and down sampling)

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This is the settings screen pinned up on the wall, where I enabled the developer mode and browser access to the device.
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A simple 3D world built in the lounge room -which can be exported to a 3D Print file and printed. Building the scene is interactive, you can walk around it, move things, rotate, colour and so on.

Through the Hololens the scene are alot more immersive, the lenses are darker, there’s ambiance stereo music playing with game play chatter going on. It’s like you’re really at the game!

Here’s an Overview of some of the features and general usage – pretty cool. I recorded this via remote control from the browser with the unit recording the scene and I downloaded it later.

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An overview of using the Hololens – initially against a blank wall with a window

 

 

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A snippet from one of the holo games. Kept everyone busy for hours. This is a wall with some laser holes in it. 

 

 

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