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Microsoft Introduces HoloLens and Surface Hub

Microsoft Introduces HoloLens and Surface Hub
Virtual reality computing may come to the masses sooner than we expect. Microsoft unveiled two holographic computers earlier this year. The Microsoft HoloLens is a headset with a fully untethered, holographic computer built in. The Surface Hub is an interactive whiteboard that doesn’t use a keyboard or mouse because of its touchscreen capabilities. Microsoft hopes to be a leader in what they call interactive holograms rather than creating an entire virtual reality environment.  They’re more interested in how this new form of computing can be incorporated into homes and businesses as a replacement for a regular computer rather than used for immersing a user into an alternate world. The inventor of HoloLens, Alex Kipman, said of holographic computing, “We are constantly processing terabytes of information from all around us. Imagine if technology has the same sensing capability to process all of this input about the world around us, so it can see the world as we see it.” The Microsoft HoloLens is one of the first computers designed as a standalone device that operates solely on voice and gesture-based commands. It is made up of a headset with a visor and projectors that create a holographic view of images that are projected directly in front of you. It’s one of the first virtual reality “wearables.” It is hoped to eventually replace the home computer. The projected release date has not been announced but is expected to be within a year. Microsoft says the cost will be significantly more than a video game console. The most expensive home console on the market now is the Sony PlayStation 4, which runs about $400. The Surface Hub was intended for use in an office for presentations or business meetings. It has dual high-resolution cameras and several microphones so that voice and gesture commands can be heard and seen in a group. It also allows any device, such as a smart phone or tablet, to communicate with it making it easier to share files. It also has videoconferencing built-in to make it easier for people to meet even when they’re not in the same location. Microsoft started selling the device this summer. Prices started at $7,000 for a 55-inch model and went up to $20,000 for a model with an 84-inch display. Both devices use Microsoft 10, the newest operating system released by the company this summer. The Surface Hub can run other applications, much like a regular home computer, including Skype, games such as Minecraft, and computer-aided design software such as AutoCAD. HoloLens has an app called HoloStudio that will allow a user to create and print 3D designs. The availability of this form of virtual reality computing will have an impact on people in many industries, including builders, architects, and designers. Collaboration between designers and builders may become easier because everyone will have better access to files and will be able to work on projects together in real time remotely. There is speculation that HoloLens will be compatible with AutoCAD, which could cause major advancements in the creation of 2D and 3D drawings.

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