Just a few weeks after Oculus announced the release of its virtual reality headset, Microsoft has brought forth even more exciting news: Starting from March 30, 2016, the tech giant will be releasing its trial batch of HoloLens that will allow users to appear anywhere, anytime.
HoloLens will make new gaming and other exciting applications possible like virtual battles with 3D opponents right in your home. See video below.
Holoportation, a derivative of virtual reality, is a technology that allows a person to create virtual copies of individuals and objects and interact with them just like they are real.
To enter a virtual reality world or be able to holoport, a person has to wear a special headset with lenses and speakers. It takes only a few seconds to trick the mind into accepting that what you are seeing is real. The machine will then take you to any of the pre-loaded sceneries that you choose and recreate images of people and things as if they are right there beside you.
Holoportation vs. Mainstream Virtual Reality
The difference between the mainstream virtual reality equipment (such as Oculus Rift) and those of holoportation (such as HoloLens) is that the former takes you completely away from the physical world, while the latter enables you to create illusionary objects and fix them in the existing environment.
If you were to try out each of these kits, a sample application in Oculus Rift would create the illusion that you are on a trek in the depths of an Amazon forest, while HoloLens will holoport your wife and young son into your hotel room while you’re on a work trip so you can feel that you’re not really 10,000 kilometers away them. Both technologies open up amazing possibilities for gaming and communication, and in the future it would be expected that VR companies will develop devices that can switch between these two possibilities.
A Short History of Virtual Reality
Public interest in virtual reality started as early as the 1990’s. Two prominent companies back then, Forte Technologies Inc. and Sony, developed the first brands of virtual headsets for gaming. However, poor computer hardware at the time contributed to unsatisfactory performance of this equipment, and soon they fell out of favor with users. Dreams of a virtual reality world would then vanish – until in 2012 when they were revived by an online community of gamers.
A public fundraiser in the same year led to the birth of Oculus, a company whose owners promised to come up with advanced yet affordable VR kits. Noticing people’s ambitions, Microsoft and other corporations also joined the bandwagon and have vigorously engaged in VR research since then.
The Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens are arguably the most outstanding VR kits ever built. I must add, however, that a lot of intensive research is ongoing; even before the year ends, more advanced inventions might spring up and significantly overshadow existing VRs.
Top Hi-Tech Companies Dive into VR technology
Today, many tech companies are getting involved in the virtual reality world: Google Cardboard is an android-compatible VR kit containing simple components that users assemble to make virtual headsets; Samsung’s Gear VR is specifically made for Samsung mobile phones; HTC produces HTC Vive headsets for their gadgets. And with these two new additions, the future of VR looks good.
Oculus Rift vs. HoloLens: Which One is Better?
If you are going to buy HoloLens in its trial phase, you probably will not enjoy it much due to the limited number of applications it supports at the moment. The batch that will go on sale in March will mostly be bought by programmers so that they can develop applications for the device and fine tune it. Oculus is a better option for now because it already has hundreds of games.
Another factor that might push buyers away from HoloLens is its high price. The trial kits cost a whopping $3,000 – five times the cost of Oculus Rift.
On the other hand, the HoloLens is worth the price if you consider that you won’t have to sit in front of a computer when using it. It has everything integrated within it, so you can carry your headset with you to the streets. Oculus Rift, on the other hand, must be attached to a Windows desktop or laptop for it to function.
In addition, HoloLens is already integrated with Skype, so you can create virtual images of your friends and talk to them “side-by-side”. Such a feature is not yet possible with Oculus. So, which is your pick?