Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is an upgrade to usability instead of specs

Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality system is bringing cutting edge technology to workplaces with a number of interesting use cases.

Microsoft intends the headset for use at workplaces where visualising something that isn’t there can be useful. Construction sites can benefit from augmented reality by visualising the building before it’s finished, or factory workers can look at a car and see the internal parts, for example.

Perhaps one of the more interesting use cases for augmented reality is in the operating theatre. The Imperial College of London uses the technology to map CT scans onto patients, showing the location of blood vessels and other information, allowing a surgeon to perform more accurate incisions.

Like the previous version, the HoloLens 2 uses a laser-based display system, projecting holograms across a clear display in front of the user’s eyes. Much of the hardware is the same, but Microsoft has focused on making the actual usage of the device easier and more intuitive than just beefing up the specs.

The new version of the headset offers twice as much field of view, removing the need to turn your head constantly to see the holograms. A new depth sensor enables direct manipulation of virtual holograms using natural hand gestures, and an eye tracker enables more intuitive interactions, like automatically scrolling text as you read it. Lightweight carbon fiber and adjustments to the headset’s center of gravity make the headset more comfortable to wear, too.

HoloLens 2 is available for preorder starting at US$3500, will ship later in the year, and is confirmed for Australian markets at the initial launch. The headset is not designed for consumers, but workers, so sales will be limited to corporations, but the headset is an exciting look into the future.

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