One day with HoloLens

Photo on 4-6-16 at 11.19 AM

Note: This is a re-post of a post I wrote for the Augmented Reality Center at Miami University.

The AR Center’s HoloLens arrived yesterday at noon, so I thought I’d write a few quick notes about my impressions so far.

Headline: Everyone who tries it is impressed, and excited. I’ve had students, administrative assistants, colleagues, and our community relations person all try it out. Some like it more than others, but most people that try it react with surprise and delight. Not just techies, but a fairly broad cross-section of people, see this technology as cool and desirable.

This is in contrast to the Google Glass, Google Project Tango tablet, or Oculus Rift. While those technologies all have their adherents, and we find them all very useful in our research, I haven’t seen a reaction of surprised delight from anyone that I’ve demoed those technologies for.

Some specific points that I’ve already noticed:

  • Battery life exceeds expectations. I’ve been wearing the device, powered on, since 9am. It is now 11:30am, and I still have 40% battery charge. This isn’t great, but it far exceeds my expectations, based on my experiences with Tango and Glass. Of course I’m not using any intense applications (like a game), but I have several holograms positioned around my office.
  • Comfortable enough. It took me a few tries to find a comfortable way to wear the device. It is heavy, and my head is a weird shape, so the headband kept either sliding down my head, or being too tight. I added the “over the head” band and removed the nose piece, and now I’ve been wearing it comfortably for 2+ hours.
  • Great control scheme. One of my main problems with Google Glass was the awkwardness of controlling it. HoloLens has a gesture-based control scheme that feels very natural, and also has decent voice recognition support.
  • Remove desktop? One thing I’ve already gotten a bit addicted to is using glass to remote desktop into my Windows server. I had some driver updates and things to do. Instead of taking up real estate on my laptop display, I used the RD client on HoloLens, and floated the window in the air over another part of my desk. Of course, typing isn’t very natural, similar to typing on the phone/tablet version of remote desktop. But good for monitoring installers, clicking on buttons, and so on.
  • Very little lag, no simulator sickness. Several of the people that have tried the HoloLens seemed worried that it might make them nauseous. So far I haven’t seen any evidence of it doing so. The holograms are remarkably stable in their position, even when I move my head rapidly. I am able to notice some color separation during head movement. The white cursor dot tends to look like three dots (one red, one green, one blue) during head motion.

Overall, I’m very impressed and excited about this technology. I really can imagine simply getting rid of all my screens, and using holograms instead. Probably not with this current iteration of the hardware/software ecosystem, but it is within reach.

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