Microsoft launches Hololens 2 mixed reality headset, aimed squarely at business use
Microsoft has launched HoloLens 2, its mixed reality headset, at MWC in Barcelona. Microsoft says it has focused on three key areas from the first iteration; to be more immersive, more comfortable, and to improve the partner eco system around it. It is being aimed at usage for 'everyday work' from construction sites to factory floors, from operating rooms to classrooms.
The new headset is significantly cheaper on launch than its predecessor ($3,500 compared to $5,000) and includes head-tracking software for the first time.
Microsoft says it has more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight.
A blog on the Microsoft website outlining the launch says; 'HoloLens 2 contains a new display system that enables us to achieve these significant advances in performance at low power. We have also completely refreshed the way you interact with holograms in HoloLens 2. Taking advantage of our new time-of-flight depth sensor, combined with built-in AI and semantic understanding, HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world. In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural. You can log in with Windows Hello enterprise-grade authentication through iris recognition, making it easy for multiple people to quickly and securely share the device.
'Comfort is enhanced by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fibre material and a new mechanism for donning the device without readjusting. We’ve improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology and accounted for the wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone. The new dial-in fit system makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end, and you can keep your glasses on because HoloLens 2 adapts to you by sliding right over them. When it’s time to step out of mixed reality, flip the visor up and switch tasks in seconds.
'Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications. In addition to the in-box value, our ecosystem of mixed reality partners provides a broad range of offerings built on HoloLens that deliver value across a range of industries and use cases. This partner ecosystem is being supplemented by a new wave of mixed reality entrepreneurs who are realizing the potential of devices like HoloLens 2 and the Azure services that give them the spatial, speech and vision intelligence needed for mixed reality, plus battle-tested cloud services for storage, security and application insights.'
HoloLens 2 will be available this year at a price of $3,500. Bundles including Dynamics 365 Remote Assist start at $125/month. HoloLens 2 will be initially available in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Microsoft is also working with third parties to produce specialised hardware for certain industrial roles. The first of these is a HoloLens 2 from Trimble, which integrates all the HoloLens 2 hardware into a hard hat.