We’re living in an age of advanced technology that helps us solve everyday problems. However, none of the devices we have today can quite match the potential of the HoloLens 2. It is Microsoft’s mixed-reality device that seems like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. What is it and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft’s mixed reality glasses.
What Is Microsoft HoloLens 2?
It hasn’t been that long since extended reality devices started hitting the market. We have VR glasses from companies like Sony that allow us to step into a whole new world. Then there’s the more subtle augmented reality technology that’s slowly crept into our social media apps. Snapchat filters, anyone?
Then there’s the third, and newest, addition to extended reality: mixed reality (MR). This more elusive type of technology isn’t widely available quite yet. However, it has equally great potential, if not more, for real-world applications.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 is probably the most concrete example we have today of mixed reality. While people might call them augmented reality glasses, in reality, they employ more mixed reality instead. If you’re confused, mixed reality essentially just feels like augmented reality and virtual reality combined.
You’re “transported” into a whole new world where you can see reality right in front of you. However, you can simultaneously see holograms that adjust based on what you see.
For example, you’re baking a cake but you lack sugar. You wonder where it is in the kitchen when HoLolens 2 helps out by pointing you towards the sugar. Feeling relieved, you take the sugar and proceed baking, guided by the holographic cake recipe projected by HoloLens 2. Afterward, hit the holographic button to exit the recipe and wait for your cake to bake.
This whole scenario might seem too sci-fi—almost as if it’s something out of a Marvel movie from Iron Man’s workshop. However, it’s not far off because these are the things HoloLens 2 claims to do.
HoloLens 2: Features, Specs, & Capabilities
Now, what we’ve shown you is only the tip of the iceberg for it. That’s because it has a whole array of functions that you might not be familiar with. If you want to dig deeper, here are all its specs and features.
Advanced, Immersive Viewing & Display
Hololens 2 offers an immersive viewing experience designed to look and feel natural. It has a 2K resolution, which is more than enough for the human eye. Furthermore, the field of view has greatly increased compared to its predecessor.
Apart from this, it has advanced eye tracking and eye-based rendering. These features work together to allow your eyes to see the projections at exactly the right position and angle. Moreover, they adjust according to your eye’s position and where you’re looking.
Lastly, in terms of information capture, Hololens 2 can accommodate 2MP photos and 1080p video @ 30fps.
Intuitive Touch & Voice Controls
One of the biggest drawbacks of mixed reality technology is the controls. Since most of the things you see are holographic, it can be tricky to figure out a navigation tool. However, HoloLens 2 somehow made this work by allowing users to intuitively control the virtual environment.
Users can touch, move, and hold the various holograms the way they would with real objects. Think of how sci-fi characters normally flip through the air to navigate holographic controls. It works the same way. All you need is to log in with your eyes using Windows Hello.
If you’re tired of touch, it also works with voice control. You can easily use voice commands even in noisy areas through the built-in microphones. What’s more, it is smart, understanding your commands even if you speak naturally.
Human & Environment Understanding
Of course, HoloLens 2 would be nothing if it fails to understand both you and the surrounding areas. That said, it has the necessary structures in place. These include natural hand tracking, real-time eye tracking, and positional tracking for the surrounding environment. It can track things to scale and map a spatial mesh of your surroundings.
Processor Power & Connectivity
HoloLens 2 comes with a powerful Snapdragon processor and a holographic processing unit. This, along with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, allows HoloLens 2 to function and operate all its services. Now, there’s not much of a comparison to other brands here since HoloLens 2 is pretty unique. However, all of these should allow users to perform all the basic necessary functions.
Apart from this, HoloLens 2 also comes with multiple connectivity options. For one, it has a built-in USB-C port for peripherals. It also has BlueTooth 5 and WiFi 5 to connect to networks and other devices.
Form & Fit
At first glance, HoloLens 2 might look bulky and heavy. The design certainly doesn’t look like something fashion-conscious people would wear. However, since it’s mainly targeted at workers instead of consumers, the design works well.
That’s because the HoloLens 2 was designed with ergonomics in mind. It can sit on your head longer with a more comfortable fit so you won’t need to worry about straining. However, that doesn’t mean it’s as light as regular glasses. What it does mean is that, despite its 566g weight, you can keep it on for long hours of work.
Apart from this, the design also accommodates people who wear glasses. Also, switching between reality and mixed reality is also easy using the flippable visor.
Lastly, HoloLens 2 allows free movement and portability. That’s because it doesn’t require any wires for you to use them. HoloLens 2 is wireless with the computer, along with all its processing and connectivity, being built-in.
We now come to HoloLens 2’s battery life. Unfortunately, the battery life on HoloLens 2 isn’t crazy, so it won’t provide eight full hours of active use. However, since it uses relatively new technology, that kind of thing is still forgivable.
HoloLens 2 can run you two to three hours of active use before the battery drains. Once you need to charge, you can do so using the USB-PD fast charger in the box.
How Much Is Microsoft HoloLens 2?
HoloLens 2 is very much a worker-targeted device. This is evident in its form and function that’s ideal for workers in a factory or industrial environment. With that said, the price point is divided based on the sector it’s made for. It’s divided into six parts, with one being a general HoloLens 2 and the others tailored per sector. Let’s talk about each.
Microsoft HoloLens 2
The very first device is the basic. It offers what you’d expect from a regular device without specialized features. It is available for purchase on Microsoft’s website for $3,500.00 with a 1-year warranty.
Hololens 2 Industrial Edition
The second type is the industrial edition. This specific set was designed, developed, and tested with industrial settings in mind. Hence, if you need something that can withstand harsh industrial environments, this is the one.
HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition sells for $4,950.00 on Microsoft’s website. However, for further guidance, you can also consult Microsoft and call a specialist before purchase. Once you do buy it, you’re eligible for 2 years of warranty and replacement.
Trimble XR10 With HoloLens 2
Similar to the Industrial Edition, the Trimble XR10 is ideal for industrial settings. However, this one, in particular, belongs more in loud, dirty, and safety-controlled work areas. This includes warehouse and construction work that require the use of hardhats and PPEs.
It’s also ideal for noisy environments because of its built-in noise cancellation. Like the Industrial Edition, it also retails for $4,950.00 (US only) online. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.
HoloLens 2 With Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
This version is pretty simple. Like the original, it also comes with a 1-year warranty. However, it also comes with Microsoft’s MR communication app. Unfortunately, there’s no set price for the bundle, so you need to get in touch with a reseller.
HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition With Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
This version is the same as the Industrial Edition. However, it also includes access to the MR Dynamic 365 Remote Assist app and a 2-year warranty. Unfortunately, it’s still “coming soon” on Microsoft’s website, so there’s no specific price we can offer you just yet.
HoloLens 2 Development Edition
Lastly, we have the Development Edition. This version is ideal for developers who need to work with various services. That’s because it comes with a 3-month Unity Pro and Pixyz Plugin trial and $500 worth of Azure credits. It has a 1-year warranty and retails for $3,500.00.
Hololens 2 is the most successful mixed reality product we’ve seen to date. There was the Meta 2 vs HoloLens debate, which could have sparked some competition for Microsoft. However, the Meta 2 died out eventually, leaving it as the industry’s frontrunner.
With its current capabilities, the HoloLens 2 is perfect for industry workers and professionals. It seamlessly merges both the digital and actual realities into one, allowing for more efficient and productive work. Overall, it is a useful tool and an important development for the MR industry.