“This is the first step in our journey to consumers,” a spokesman said. The step is “focused on our commercial partnerships and on supporting developers who will help pave the way to consumer availability with amazing and new holographic experiences.”
The announcement comes a year after Microsoft revealed plans to develop the HoloLens, which does not need a computer or smartphone to deliver a VR experience. The company didn’t say when the consumer version would be available.
The Windows 10 device incorporates see-through holographic lenses and an optical projection system to make full-color holograms appear in the wearer’s real-world environment. It will enable such applications as “mixed-reality gaming,” projecting holograms into a living room so that consumers can wear virtual weapons around their wrist to battle robots that break through the walls of their house. Microsoft also sees applications for productivity and health care.
A built-in camera enables users to make mixed reality captures (MRCs) of holograms in the user’s real-world environment to share with people who don’t have a HoloLens.
The device also supports Bluetooth 4.1 for use with accessories, including a clicker that will ship with your HoloLens.
To show developers what they can create, Microsoft unveiled its own apps, including HoloTour, which lets users view high-resolution 360-degree panoramic displays of places like Rome and Machu Picchu. The app lets users walk around the location and get up close to objects. The sounds of the virtual location also surround users.
Mixed-reality games developed by Microsoft include Fragments, which lets gamers investigate clues and solve crimes taking place in their own living rooms.
RoboRaid lets users defend their own home against an alien invasion.
The developer’s edition costs $3,000.