Microsoft HoloLens 2 – Next Generation Mixed Reality

Cheaper, lighter, more powerful – Microsoft’s next generation mixed reality headset, HoloLens 2, looks to improve on its winning formula with both hardware and software updates.

Expected to debut in Q4 this year or early 2019, the new HoloLens is rumoured to run on Qualcomm's latest XR1 chip and feature a lighter frame with improved holographic displays. Microsoft Technical Fellow, Alex Kipman, recently spoke about the, “Amazing new features… and a ton of performance improvements” including:

  • Enterprise management features. HoloLens becomes easier to share in the workplace with multiple logins possible for the same device.  
  • Media Transport Protocol support allows the copying of files to and from the device, as simple as dragging files from one folder to another.
  • Improved Master Data Management features make devices easier to configure and manage.
  • Streamlined interactions with holographic objects make it simpler to move and size objects.  
  • New APIs allow the animation of holographic App Launchers as users approach or look at the object.
  • Research Mode provides access to more raw data from the sensors, including its four grey-scale environment tracking cameras and the new depth camera that senses the environment and captures user gestures.
  • New protocols for easier sharing of 3D objects from a website.
  • Support for User Generated Environments lets you create your own locations, including a new virtual home, the Skyloft.

Among the long list of enhancements, perhaps the standout update is the new time-of-flight (ToF) depth-sensor. HoloLens understands people and environments, takes in gaze, gesture and voice input, and outputs holograms and immersive spatial sound. The current version of HoloLens uses the third generation of Kinect depth-sensing technology to enable it to place holograms in the real world.  

The new HoloLens will include the fourth generation Kinect depth-sensing hardware. Technical breakthroughs allow greater precision with less power consumption and the ability, through Project Kinect for Azure, to integrate with the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge platform, unlocking a myriad of new opportunities to take advantage of Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and IoT Edge.

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Written by
Simon Barrett

A native of London and a graduate in economics, Simon began his marketing and PR career in the music and film industries. Simon is fascinated by the compelling ideas that shape our future and communicates them with passion.