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Microsoft's recent TED Talk on the HoloLens has some incredible new demos

HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo
HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

In February, Microsoft's Alex Kipman, the head of the company's HoloLens project, made a TED Talk that showed off a number of previously unreleased demos for the augmented reality headset. Now that TED Talk has been officially posted in a video that showcased those new demos.

The video, as shown on Microsoft's blog, shows Kipman using the HoloLens to see thinks like virtual landscapes, simulated houses and more. It also shows the first public look at a two-way HoloLens chat, with Kipman talking with Dr. Jeffrey Norris, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, while also seeing a life-sized virtual version of Norris, who also happens to be standing on an accurate representation of the Mars landscape.

During the brief Q&A following Kipman's speech, he was asked about the differences between the field of view of the simulated HoloLens demo, as shown from an outside camera, and the real ones that can be viewed in the headset. Kipman said:

I've purposely ignored it, because ultimately, it's the wrong question to ask. That's the equivalent of me showing holograms to someone for the first time, and you then saying, "What's the size of your television?" The field of view for the product is almost irrelevant. What we should be talking about is the density of lights, or radiance, that shows up. Better said, what the angular resolution is of the things that you see. So from that perspective, what you saw -- you know, the camera is wearing a HoloLens. So even if I wanted to cheat, I can't.So in short: to be super crisp, the camera that you see on the screen has a wider field of view than the human eye. But the angular resolution of the holograms that you see, the points of light per unit of area, are actually the same.

Microsoft has reportedly already started shipping the first wave of units for the $3,000 HoloLens Developer Edition to pre-orders.

27 Comments
  • Keep the demos coming. Developers would embrace them
  • Small field of view tho lol
  • Considering how truly revolutionary the technology is, it's impressive that the worst scar on it so far is FOV. Then again I have a friend who says that Nintendo was doing augmented reality years ago...
  • I think a lot of companies have done AR a while back. The folly of Kipman and MS in this regard, as far as I can tell, is that they are changing the term to Holographic, which upsets me. I think his response was the most politcal answer possible, he should run for some seat somewhere on the hill, however.... I can also see his point on his spin. Almost. What prevents me is the use of the term Holographic because, as you guys have done, and everyone else does, is to drag the term back to what we know it as, AR. He and MS are shelling it as a true Holographic revolution, and maybe by definition it is "Holographic" but it's not holographic in the way people think, consciously or suconsciously these days; photons projected in air, for all to see with the only aid being their functioning eyes. But, for a self contained AR unit, sure I get it, yes the FOV is crap, but look at what it can do, what we've achieved. However, because people see AR, and further, are seeing VR experiences saddled next to it, that is what they focus on, and respectfully so. So they can twist this as much as they'd like, but it's always gonna fall flat to the crowd. Always. Because we are a group (and I'm generalizing here) that vocally focus on technical details instead of achievment and artistry. Again, respectfully so. We're conditioned to it and if we're not seeing anything leaps and bounds ahead, then nothing will distract people from drilling down on that point. When TV's were new, few gave care to the 3ft by 3ft box with an 8 inch display. We're spoiled now, and so seeing this is kinda meh, cuz it's 8 inches of stuff we believe is standard in a 3x3 foot box.
  • "I think a lot of companies have done AR a while back. The folly of Kidman and MS in this regard, as far as I can tell, is that they are changing the term to Holographic, which upsets me". To be clear, HoloLens is NOT Augmented Reality. It is Mixed Reality. This is why Microsoft uses the word, Holographic; and rightfully so. The difference between Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality: It all comes down to how one perceives the real world. With A.R., your real world environment is captured by a camera and displayed by a screen or a projector. Our eyes do no see the world unimpeded. And since a camera can never replicate how our eyes perceive the world, the real world environment in A.R. will always be perceived as a live video feed with additional content thrown in. With Mixed Reality (HoloLens) you see your environment just like we always do; unimpeded. The additional content then appears to actually exist in the real world, since the light from the additional content is Mixed with the unimpeded light from the real environment. Hence the word Hologram.
  • "Our eyes do no see the world unimpeded" What I meant to says was, "Augmented Reality does not allow us to see the world unimpeded." Essentially, in A.R., our real world is being impeded by a camera and a screen or projector.
  • .. for now.
  • Lets not forget this is a developer edition. Man I love this demo
  • My body is ready.
  • We dont care about that sunglasses
  • Ah, using the royal "we" I see.
  • Use "I" not "we" Sent from WC app (1520) on Windows 10 Mobile
  • We we
  • Royals use we
  • We are not amused Posted from WC 920, 1520, 920, 635, 640 or 950XL
  • Great demo, great technology but I really don't like the way they are presenting it.
  • Amazing, yet people complain! On the other hand crapp from Apple just presenting an iP'o'd Pro Mini with Power Point slides with not a single bit of innovation whatsoever! Every day I am more convinced that this ignorance from iFans benefits all of the rest of us, by making much greater companies research & devolope amazing things and making them accesible to us a much more competitive prices! Thanks again iFans!
  • U get claps for the nyon brands for failed watches!!!
  • Woah is this real?
  • Field of view is a pretty legit question actually. Yes there is a lot of work and vision going on, also light rays per inch2 is of course another important spec; but ultimately, user experience matters the most. It is the thing that separates a gimmick from an actually usable product. And FOV is one of the most important metrics of an immersive experience. Kinect was very good but not good enough to be a consumer product. HoloLens kinda reminds me of Kinect situation.
  • They're obviously waiting for the tech to advance enough to enlarge the FOV before releasing to the public. As cool as Kinect was, Hololens is way cooler.
  • It was funny to watch him dodge the FOV question with technobabble.  Pretty sad since she wanted to address this once and for all face to face. If I were him, rather than use technobabble, I would simply state that the camera is representing what the audiance would see if each audience member had on a Hololens.  The big screens are for their viewing since they do not have Hololenses to wear.  I would then say that since I am close to the objects on stage, I simply can not see all of the objects at one time and have to move my head to pan all of the objects.  So my perspective is not the same as theirs.  But if I were sitting where the audiance is sitting, I could then see the entire stage at once. Given the audiences distance from the stage, they could indeed see the entire stage of objects, even with the FOV of the actual headset. This would be a factual answer to the question and perfectly acceptable to most people. People feel deceived when we try to make them think that they will see exactly what is presented on the big screens when they are emersed in the hologram.  They need a logical and valid reason why the two views are different.  Simply stated, it is distance that would enable the audiance to see the full stage if they were wearing an actual HoloLens.
  • Why does he want to turn me into an elf?
  • What's with that t-shirt and references to "points of light"?
  • Apple gets claps for the nyon brands for failed watches!!! MS gets slaps for showing the next leap in technology!!
  • If anyones interested, I own the Hololens Jobs group on Linkedin, MS advertise roles within that group now and then :) https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8242390 if interested.
  • Complaining about the limitation of screens is a little disingenuous as tech could only render in limited 2D until recently. But I'm so looking forward to this technology.