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Tech Trends for 2016: Holograms

Forget the fictional holograms in Star Wars and Back to the Future , Microsoft are making hologram computing a reality. Watch out for the HoloLens in 2016

When a tech giant such as Microsoft is making waves with a new innovation, you know it’s one to watch. The disruptive innovation in question? Holograms. Specifically, technology which generates live holograms – the HoloLens.

Set to begin shipping in 2016, Microsoft’s HoloLens will enable users to watch Netflix on a hologram TV, interact with business clients and colleagues via a hologram screen, turn holograms into physical objects (via 3D printing) and so much more.

Recently showcased at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event, the HoloLens is the first fully untethered, holographic computer which creates high-definition holograms to integrate with the “real world”.

Users are able to produce holograms to bring ideas to life and, while being arguably one of the ‘coolest’ new technologies of the New Year; it also offers opens up an array of commercial opportunities.

Engineers, designers, architects and animation teams can use the technology to pin holograms to physical objects in order to scale them in real time. Moreover, they will be able to see their work from every angle. Business can make use of HoloLens via Skype in order to interact with clients and colleagues in real-time and colleagues can also help with difficult tasks by drawing instructions that appear as holograms in ‘your world’. While in the education sector, universities and schools can use the 3D hologram images to help students learn by making flat illustrations and diagrams come alive.

How it works

Holograms and holographic objects are made entirely of light and can be two dimensional (like paper), or three-dimensional (much like any physical object). With the HoloLens, holograms appear life-like; they can be moved, shaped and changed by the user of the environment that the hologram is in.

Running using Windows 10, the HoloLens’ exact technology is pretty confidential but in layman’s terms it generates a multi-dimensional image to a user who then perceives this as a holographic object in the real world.

Holographic computing on the HoloLens is different to existing technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). With AR, you can’t see holographic objects placed in specific physical locations or objects in the real world, while with VR you’re entirely engaged in the virtual world and have to stay seated or standing. The HoloLens offers the best of both or what it refers to as “delivering a mixed reality”.

Microsoft has said that it believes the HoloLens will offer a “wide array of use-cases for all”. In a statement on its website:

“We believe developers, commercial organisations, designers, creators, and those seeking a whole new way to be entertained will find unique value in Microsoft HoloLens.

“HoloLens will be a revolutionary tool for businesses – transforming how companies, designers and creators work with three-dimensional data to bring products and information to life. This is just the beginning.”


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