Back in January 2015, Microsoft took the wraps off an ambitiously conceived augmented reality headset, the HoloLens. Today, the Windows maker announced it is opening pre-orders for a pricey development edition of the HoloLens, which costs $3,000 a pop.
Developed in partnership with NASA and billed as the first and only fully untethered holographic computer, the HoloLens runs a version of Windows 10 called Windows Holographic and features see-through lenses that project interactive holographic images into the view of the user.
The headset itself contains a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit, an Intel 32-bit architecture and a variety of environment understanding sensors.
Developers can pre-order their $3,000 HoloLens Development Edition at the Microsoft website ahead of its March 30 shipping date. The company has also posted the official HoloLens documentation, guides and tutorials at dev.windows.com/holographic.
Additional development tools that include Visual Studio projects and a HoloLens software emulator will be released when the device starts shipping to customers on March 30. The emulator will allow developers to test holographic apps on their PC without a physical HoloLens.
“The future of technology will not be confined to just two dimensions – our future interaction with technology will more closely mirrors our real world. Technology coexisting in our real, three-dimensional world, beyond screens and pixels,” says Microsoft.
“We believe that the future is holographic, and as a result, we will continue to empower the developers who will help bring that future to life.”
Watch the video embedded below in which Microsoft engineers Alex Kipman and Kudo Tsunoda welcome aspiring HoloLens developers to the team and share an overview of what’s included in the box with the HoloLens Development Edition kit.
The NASA is using the HoloLens and the Mars Onsite application to explore the surface of Mars in augmented reality. In addition, the HoloLens is used by astronauts in space after NASA successfully delivered the device to the International Space Station to aid in its Project Sidekick work.
Among other software, the HoloLens supports apps like virtual maps, to-do list apps and a holographic 3D version of Minecraft. The built-in cameras permit users to record mixed reality captures, which are comprised of high-definition pictures and video of the holograms in the world around them.
The device also packs in Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, 64GB internal storage, and up to three hours of battery life.
According to Microsoft, the HoloLens is “the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen,” one that requires no markers, no external cameras, no wires, no phone and no connection to a PC.