A recent article on TechCrunch caught my eye. As, I guess, it was intended to.
The article was on the HoloLens, Microsoft’s entry into the “facespace” space, which lands somewhere between what Oculus is doing more or less successfully on the “power end” and what Google attempted to do with Glass (more or less unsuccessfully: it made most lists of the Top Ten Tech Flops of 2014) at the “convenience end.”
“…seems to be an augmented reality system capable of projecting faux-holograms to an eyepiece you wear. The net effect is the wearer “sees” a hologram in space all around him… In essence HoloLens is trying to blend the two [Oculus and Google Glass], forming a high definition augmented reality system within a constrained space.”(Source: Tech Crunch)
The examples that Microsoft was showcasing were work-based applications. You can see this for yourself at the HoloLens site, where, in Microsoft’s words, the:
“HoloLens puts you at the center of a world that blends holograms with reality. With the ability to design and shape holograms, you’ll have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share your ideas. Your digital content and creations will be more relevant when they come to life in the world around you.”
I don’t think that we’re going to all be wearing HoloLens around the office any time soon, any more than we’re all wearing Google Glass. But for gaming…
“In many games the screen area is cluttered by a HUD [Head’s Up Display], that is the numbers that show you how much health your character has left, or experience points or levels. Those numbers are an essential aspect of a game’s feedback system, but they bring a visual noise with them. In some cases they hem in the world of the game and make it less impactful. For games that are trying to be immersive or story-driven, for example, experience point counters dinging away at the top of the screen can be distracting. Conversely UI elements also need to be constrained so that they don’t interfere with the main game too much. So games often have muddled UI/world compromises that never feel quite right.” (Back to Tech Crunch here.)
The HoloLens promises to enable use of 30% more of the screen for the actual game.
That’s the promise, anyway. We’ll see if Microsoft can deliver on it any better than Google did with Glass…
There are obvious applications beyond gaming, of course….
A couple of months ago, I blogged about HUD in the automotive world. Taking the diagnostics/data completely out of the main field of view to limit interference with the primary task at hand could be an important concept when it comes to more tasks, like driving, that are more critical than gaming!