Drones are all the rage right now and it is clear that once we have VR headsets in place that using one to pilot a drone will give you a true first person flying perspective particularly when drone makers start putting two cameras on them (for better depth perception and a more realistic first person view). But the problem with VR glasses, particularly if you are flying a drone outside, is you can’t really see what is around you and that means that unless you are standing perfectly still and have someone watching your stuff that you are either likely to trip or have someone, who realizes you can’t see them, steal your stuff.
But with HoloLens you can still look down and see what you are walking on and look around you to see if someone is looking with envy at your stuff. So that, even though you can see as if you are flying you can also see that German Shepard who has decided your backpack would make a great urinal and maybe prevent the related disaster before it occurs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with HoloLens as there is almost unlimited potential for a device that can alter what we perceive as reality.
With this month’s announcement that developers will have the device by month-end let’s talk about why HoloLens could become the perfect universal headset and our window into a world of imagination.
What HoloLens does that is unique is that it blends what is virtual with what is real. It isn’t Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality it is Altered Reality and that means the device has a ton more flexibility than we are typically used to. This flexibility allows us to use the device in a variety of ways we really are just now beginning to comprehend.
For instance, let’s say you were using the headset while watching a movie at a theater. You could have subtitles, or if you are bored, you could actually watch a different movie without your girlfriend or wife being any wiser, that is until you jumped or laughed at the wrong time. You could even check on your security cameras at home or on your car while watching the movie with no one being the wiser and your stuff still remains safe. In fact, if you were curious what other movies an actor was in, just like you often can now do when watching an Amazon movie on your PC or tablet, you have the HoloLens give you that information. It sees what you see and is tied into a movie database, so it could give you background information either prompted or unprompted as needed.
At amusement parks the device could be tied into the overall experience. You could have Tinkerbell personally guide you to rides and little known experiences at one of the Disney properties or guide your lost child back to you if you got separated. And the ride experience could be massively improved with graphics added in the display. Think of being able to have an actual Wand battle at Harry Potter World for instance or having random characters from the movie pop up around you tied to park events or contests. And because HoloLens knows what is around you they always look like they are actually there to some degree not some screwy floating head or disproportionate body.
Windows in your home could have any view you wanted them to have. HoloLens would replace what was actually there with something very different. You want a view from a castle in Scotland, from a mansion in Hawaii, from a lighthouse in the middle of a storm in the Pacific, or from Mars you could have any of that real or imagined. How about a view of or out of Hogwarts, Deep Space Nine, or into Jules Vern’s Earth’s core?
And with facial recognition these glasses could not only remind you of the names of people who walk up to you but give you background information as well.
This idea of creating a set of glasses that can blend what you see with virtual images has so many potential applications that I likely could have gone on for pages. But just look around you, every wall or empty space is a potential display every item you see could be changed, or even replaced with something else, and window outside could become a window to anyplace else real or imagined. At some point it may become more of a question of when you take these glasses off as opposed to when you wear them. And, suddenly, HoloLens isn’t alone. Another product launched this week at a third of the price for HoloLens suggesting this product has begun to create a market.
In the end though this move to Altered Reality suggests a coming change that is so massive we can’t begin to comprehend what will eventually emerge. It should be incredibly exciting.