Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headsets, which cost $3,500, will be delivered to pre-order customers in approximately half a dozen countries.
Earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced the second generation of its HoloLens augmented reality visor. It is an upgraded version of the device that was first released in 2016, featuring a wider field of view and more complex gesture controls.
The HoloLens 2 is shipping in the US, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. By the Verge Report Says, the HoloLens has gotten a redesign for better ergonomics, so its weight sits more comfortably and it’s less difficult to find a good viewing angle. Its field of view has substantially increased, from 34 degrees to 52 degrees diagonally — Microsoft has described the overall area as “more than doubled,” and while you can debate the specifics, it’s a dramatic improvement.
Buyers can pay an additional monthly fee for Microsoft’s Remote Assist software, which is designed for live, hands-free troubleshooting. Consumers aren’t meant to buy these headsets, but they may still interact with them in situations like product showrooms.
Microsoft also added full-fledged gesture tracking, not just the “air tap” option from the original HoloLens. You can do things like pinching and dragging objects or dragging menus by tapping a holographic button on your wrist.
These new gestures are an important draw for companies that might want to upgrade from the earlier HoloLens because they are opening up a new range of app options.
In regular use, existing users will also immediately notice the new gestures for opening up the Start menu (this is Windows 10, after all). Instead of a ‘bloom’ gesture, which often resulted in false positives, you now simply tap on the palm of your hand, where a Microsoft logo now appears when you look at it.
Eye tracking, too, has been greatly improved and works well, even over large distances, and the new machine learning model also does a far better job at tracking all of your fingers. All of this is powered by a lot of custom hardware, including Microsoft’s second-generation ‘holographic processing unit.’
Have a look at Official launch video:
Microsoft has also enhanced some of the cloud tools it built for HoloLens, including Azure Spatial Anchors that allow for persistent holograms in a given space that anybody else who is using a holographic app can then see in the same spot.