Microsoft HoloLens

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Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft HoloLens logo 2015.png
Also known as Project Baraboo (in-development)
Developer Microsoft
Manufacturer Microsoft
Product family Windows 10
Type Mixed reality augmented reality smartglasses
Release date
  • March 30, 2016 (2016-03-30) (Development Edition)
  • TBA (Consumer version)
Introductory price $3,000[1]
Operating system Windows Mixed Reality
CPU Intel 32-bit (1GHz)
Storage 64 GB (flash memory)
Display 2.3 megapixel widescreen head-mounted display
Sound Spatial sound technology
Controller input Gestural commands via sensors and HPU
Camera 2.4 MP
Touchpad None.
Platform Windows 10
Weight 579 g
Website Official website

Microsoft HoloLens, known under development as Project Baraboo, is a pair of mixed reality smartglasses developed and manufactured by Microsoft. HoloLens gained popularity for being one of the first computers running the Windows Mixed Reality platform under the Windows 10 operating system. The HoloLens can trace its lineage to Kinect, an add-on for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console that was introduced in 2010.[2]

The pre-production version of HoloLens, the Development Edition, shipped on the 30th of March 2016, and is targeted to developers in the United States and Canada for a list price of $3000.[3][4] Samsung and Asus have extended an offer to Microsoft to help produce their own mixed-reality products, in collaboration with Microsoft, based around the concept and hardware on HoloLens.[5][6] On October 12, 2016, Microsoft announced global expansion of HoloLens and publicized that HoloLens would be available for preorder in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.[7]


The HoloLens is a head-mounted display unit connected to an adjustable, cushioned inner headband, which can tilt HoloLens up and down, as well as forward and backward.[8] To wear the unit, the user fits the HoloLens on their head, using an adjustment wheel at the back of the headband to secure it around the crown, supporting and distributing the weight of the unit equally for comfort,[9] before tilting the visor towards the front of the eyes.[8]

In the front is much of the sensors and related hardware, including the cameras and processors. The visor is tinted;[9] enclosed in the visor piece is a pair of transparent combiner lenses, in which the projected images are displayed in the lower half.[10] The HoloLens must be calibrated to the interpupillary distance (IPD), or accustomed vision of the user.[11][12]

Along the bottom edges of the side, located near the user's ears, are a pair of small, red 3D audio speakers. The speakers, competing against typical sound systems, do not obstruct external sounds, allowing the user to hear virtual sounds, along with the environment.[9] Using head-related transfer functions, the HoloLens generates binaural audio, which can simulate spatial effects; meaning the user, virtually, can perceive and locate a sound, as though it is coming from a virtual pinpoint or location.[13][14][note 1]

On the top edge are two pairs of buttons: display brightness buttons above the left ear, and volume buttons above the right ear.[15] Adjacent buttons are shaped differently—one concave, one convex—so that the user can distinguish them by touch.[8]

At the end of the left arm is a power button and row of five, small individual LED nodes, used to indicate system status, as well as for power management, indicating battery level and setting power/standby mode.[8] A USB 2.0 micro-B receptacle is located along the bottom edge.[9] A 3.5 mm audio jack is located along the bottom edge of the right arm.[4][9]


The HoloLens features an inertial measurement unit (IMU) (which includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a magnetometer)[16] four "environment understanding" sensors (two on each side), an energy-efficient depth camera with a 120°×120° angle of view,[17] a 2.4-megapixel photographic video camera, a four-microphone array, and an ambient light sensor.[4][18]

In addition to an Intel Cherry Trail SoC containing the CPU and GPU,[19] HoloLens features a custom-made Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU),[4] a coprocessor manufactured specifically for the HoloLens by Microsoft. The SoC and the HPU each have 1GB LPDDR3 and share 8MB SRAM, with the SoC also controlling 64GB eMMC and running the Windows 10 operating system. The HPU uses 28 custom DSPs from Tensilica[20][21] to process and integrate data from the sensors, as well as handling tasks such as spatial mapping, gesture recognition, and voice and speech recognition.[10][16][note 2] According to Alex Kipman, the HPU processes "terabytes of information," one attendee estimated that the display field of view of the demonstration units was 30°×17.5°.[22] In an interview at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, Microsoft Vice-President of Next-Gen Experiences, Kudo Tsunoda, indicated that the field of view is unlikely to be significantly different on release of the current version.[23]

The HoloLens contains an internal rechargeable battery, with average life rated at 2–3 hours of active use, or 2 weeks of standby time. The HoloLens can be operated while charging.[4]

HoloLens features IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (LE) wireless connectivity. The headset uses Bluetooth LE to pair with the included Clicker, a thumb-sized finger-operating input device that can be used for interface scrolling and selecting.[note 3] The Clicker features a clickable surface for selecting, and an orientation sensor which provides for scrolling functions via tilting and panning of the unit. The Clicker features an elastic finger loop for holding the device, and a USB 2.0 micro-B receptacle for charging its internal battery.[24]


As of 2016, a number of augmented-reality applications have been announced or showcased for Microsoft HoloLens. A collection of applications will be provided for free for developers purchasing the Microsoft HoloLens Developer Edition. Applications available at launch include:

  • Holograms, a catalogue of a variety of 3D objects that you can place and scale around you; ranging from tigers and cats to space shuttles and planets
  • HoloStudio, a full-scale 3D modelling application by Microsoft with 3D print compatibility[25]
  • An implementation of the Skype telecommunications application by Microsoft. Any user with skype of his regular devices like PC, Mobile etc. can dial user on HoloLens and communicate with each other. With Video call On, the user on PC will see the view Hololens user is seeing and HoloLens user will see view captured by PC / Mobile device user camera[26]
  • HoloTour, an audiovisual three-dimensional virtual tourism application[27]
  • Fragments, a high-tech crime thriller adventure game developed by Microsoft and Asobo Studio, in which the player engages in crime-solving[28]
  • Young Conker, a platform game developed by Microsoft and Asobo Studio, featuring a young version of Conker the Squirrel[29]
  • RoboRaid (previously code-named "Project X-Ray"), an augmented-reality first-person shooter game by Microsoft in which the player defends against a robot invasion, aiming the weapon via gaze, and shooting via the Clicker button or an air tap[30][31][32][33]
  • Actiongram, an application for staging and recording short video clips of simple mixed-reality presentations using pre-made 3D virtual assets,[27] will be released in summer 2016 in the United States and Canada.[34][note 4]

Other applications announced or showcased for HoloLens include:

  • Holoportation[35], a new type of mixed reality capture technology that allows high quality holographic models of people to be reconstructed and transported anywhere in the world, in real time using the Hololens. This technology allows users to interact with remote participants as if they are actually present in the same physical space

Developed in collaboration with JPL, OnSight integrates data from the Curiosity rover into a 3D simulation of the Martian environment,[48] which scientists around the world can visualize, interact with, and collaborate in together using HoloLens devices. OnSight can be used in mission planning, with users able to program rover activities by looking at a target within the simulation, and using gestures to pull up and select menu commands.[49] JPL plans to deploy OnSight in Curiosity mission operations, using it to control rover activities by July 2015.[50][needs update]

  • In November, 2015, Volvo and Microsoft have exhibited a prototype version of the HoloLense system at Microsoft's HQ in Redmond using the S90 luxury sedan as their subject.[51]


HoloLens, through the use of the HPU, uses sensual and natural interface commands—gaze, gesture, and voice—sometimes referred to as "GGV", inputs.[52] Gaze commands, such as head-tracking, allows the user to bring application focus to whatever the user is perceiving.[53] "Elements"—or any virtual application or button—are selected using an air tap method, similar to clicking an imaginary computer mouse. The tap can be held for a drag simulation to move an element, as well as voice commands for certain commands and actions.

The HoloLens shell carries over and adapts many elements from the Windows desktop environment. A "bloom" gesture for accessing the shell (performing a similar function to pressing a Windows key on a Windows keyboard or tablet, or the Xbox button on an Xbox One Controller) is performed by opening one's hand, fingers spread with the palm facing up.[54][55] Windows can be dragged to a particular position, as well as resized. Virtual elements such as windows or menus can be "pinned" to locations, physical structures or objects within the environment; or can be "carried," or fixed in relation to the user, following the user as they move around.[56] Title bars for application windows have a title on the left, and buttons for window management functions on the right.

In April 2016 Microsoft Created the Microsoft HoloLens App for Windows 10 PC's and Windows 10 Mobile devices, that allows developers to run apps, use his or her phone or PC's keyboard to type text, View a live stream from the HoloLens user's point of view, and remotely capture mixed reality photos and videos.

Developing applications for HoloLens

Microsoft Visual Studio is an IDE that can be used to develop applications (both 2D and 3D) for HoloLens. Applications can be tested using HoloLens emulator (included into Visual Studio 2015 IDE) or HoloLens Development Edition.

2D applications

HoloLens can run almost all Universal Windows Platform apps.[57] These apps appear as 2D projections. Not all Windows 10 APIs are currently supported by HoloLens,[58] but in most cases the same app is able to run across all Windows 10 devices (including HoloLens), and the same tools that are used to develop applications for Windows PC or Windows Phone can be used to develop a HoloLens app.

3D applications

3D applications, or "holographic" applications, use Windows Holographic APIs. Microsoft recommends Unity engine and Vuforia to create 3D apps for HoloLens, but it's also possible for a developer to build their own engine using DirectX and Windows APIs.[59]

See also



  1. ^ Pandher, Gurmeet Singh (2 March 2016). "Microsoft HoloLens Preorders: Price, Specs Of The Augmented Reality Headset.". The Bitbag. 
  2. ^ Mcbride, Sarah (23 May 2016). "With HoloLens, Microsoft aims to avoid Google's mistakes". Reuters. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Shaban, Hamza (2014-09-02). "Microsoft announces Windows Holographic with HoloLens headset". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-01-21. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Introducing the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition". Microsoft. Retrieved 7 October 2015. We will work to get devices out as quickly as possible. As soon as additional devices are available, more accepted applicants will be invited to purchase. 
  5. ^ Kim Yoo-chul (13 May 2015). "Samsung seeks partnership with Microsoft for hololens". The Korea Times. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Tibken, Shara (19 October 2015). "Asus mulls HoloLens augmented-reality glasses of its own". Wearable Tech. CNET. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Microsoft announces global expansion for HoloLens". Microsoft News Centre Australia. 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-16. 
  8. ^ a b c d Davies, Chris (1 May 2015). "HoloLens hands-on: Building for Windows Holographic". SlashGear. Retrieved 1 May 2015. That means very little pressure on your nose, and even if you’re wearing glasses you can generally find a workable way to keep them on underneath. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Microsoft Hololens hardware". Microsoft. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Alex Kipman, Seth Juarez (30 April 2015). Developing for HoloLens. Microsoft. Event occurs at 00:07:15. Retrieved 1 May 2015. HoloLens is the first—and so far—only holographic computer out there. [...] I hope that in the not-so-distant future there will be many such devices. [...] This is running Windows 10. All of the APIs for human and environment understanding are part of Windows, and this version of Windows that we put on this device—we call it Windows Holographic. 
  11. ^ Hachman, Mark (1 May 2015). "Developing with HoloLens: Decent hardware chases Microsoft's lofty augmented reality ideal". PC World. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Hollister, Sean (21 January 2015). "Microsoft HoloLens Hands-On: Incredible, Amazing, Prototype-y as Hell". Retrieved 1 May 2015. One Microsoft employee [...] typed my IPD (interpupillary distance) into a connected PC. Microsoft says the final version will automatically measure the distnace [sic] between your eyes, but the prototypes don’t have that feature yet. 
  13. ^ Microsoft HoloLens: The Science Within - Spatial Sound with Holograms. Microsoft. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Holmdahl, Todd (30 April 2015). "BUILD 2015: A closer look at the Microsoft HoloLens hardware". Microsoft Devices Blog. Retrieved 29 February 2016. This custom silicon efficiently processes data from the sensors, resulting in a relatively simple yet informative output that can be easily used by developers so they can focus on creating amazing experiences without having to work through complex physics calculations. 
  15. ^ Bright, Peter (1 May 2015). "HoloLens: Still magical, but with the ugly taint of reality". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Holmdahl, Todd (30 April 2015). "BUILD 2015: A closer look at the Microsoft HoloLens hardware". Microsoft Devices Blog. Retrieved 29 February 2016. This custom silicon efficiently processes data from the sensors, resulting in a relatively simple yet informative output that can be easily used by developers so they can focus on creating amazing experiences without having to work through complex physics calculations. 
  17. ^ Hempel, Jessi (21 January 2015). "Project HoloLens: Our Exclusive Hands-On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles". Wired. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  18. ^ Microsoft HoloLens - Here are the full processor, storage and RAM specs, Windows Central, May 2, 2016
  19. ^ Colaner, Seth (23 August 2016). "What's Inside Microsoft's HoloLens And How It Works". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Linder, Brad (23 August 2016). "Microsoft reveals info about the custom chip powering HoloLens". Liliputing. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Bright, Peter (23 August 2016). "Microsoft sheds some light on its mysterious holographic processing unit". Ars Technica. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  22. ^ Kreylos, Oliver (1 May 2015). "On the road for VR: Microsoft HoloLens at Build 2015, San Francisco". Retrieved 17 June 2015. As I was stripped of all devices and gadgets before being allowed into the demo room, I had to guesstimeasure it by covering the visible screen with my hands (fingers splayed) at arm’s length, ending up with 1 3/4 hands horizontally, and 1 hand vertically (in other words, a 16:9 screen aspect ratio) (see Figure 1). In non-Doc-Ok units, that comes out to about 30° by 17.5° (for comparison, the Oculus Rift DK2′s field of view is about 100° by 100°). 
  23. ^ Jeff Gerstmann, Phil Spencer, Kudo Tsunoda (16 June 2015). Giant Bomb LIVE! at E3 2015: Day 01. Event occurs at 3:13:06. Retrieved 4 July 2015. the hardware we have now [...] the field of view isn't exactly final, but I wouldn't say it's going to be [...] hugely, noticeably different, either. 
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  58. ^ "Current limitations for apps using APIs from the shell". 
  59. ^ "Development overview". 

External links

  • Official site
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