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Microsoft brings holograms into the real world

Microsoft brings holograms into the real world

Microsoft's Windows 10 event was going along just like you'd expect, then Microsoft dropped a bombshell. I hadn't heard anything about it, it was that secret. In fact, the secret Microsoft lab that developed it is buried under Microsoft's visitor center.

The bombshell is called Microsoft HoloLens and, like it sounds, it brings holograms into the real world. And we're not just talking about an idea; Microsoft has working models, and a consumer version is going to be available at the same time as Windows 10.

The HoloLens system is actually standalone headset that you put on your head and look through clear high-definition screen lenses. It's essentially a computer with its own CPU, graphic processing unit and the brand new holographic processing unit.

That means it can understand the world around you and overlay holographic information. You can see a calendar on the wall, games come to life in the living room, you can look inside a car engine and tons more. It also includes spatial sound so you can "hear" holograms that might be behind you.

It isn't just for looking; you can create virtual objects. Creating virtual objects is done with HoloLens Studio. The HoloLens can detect your hand motions, so you can manipulate objects like you were actually holding them. If you've seen Tony Stark's virtual creation system in the Iron Man movies, that's the general idea.

Here's part of the demonstration:

And it isn't just virtual. Objects you make with HoloLens Studio can be printed on a 3-D printer. At the Microsoft event, the presenter showed off a working quadcopter drone that had been built in HoloLens Studio and printed out beforehand.

Microsoft actually developed the HoloLens in conjunction with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which has been using it for virtual exploration of Mars.

Because it runs Windows 10, it connects with your gadgets. So, someone in a tablet can see what you're seeing, draw on it to highlight something, and you'll see it appear right before your eyes.

True, the headset seems a little clunky right now, and it's probably going to be incredibly expensive (no pricing information yet) but give it a few generations and it could be as sleek as a pair of glasses, and just as cheap. If it works anything like the demos show, it could actually change how people interact with the world.

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