Hands-On: Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 Is a Serious Improvement

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is finally here and it is being shipped to people who pre-ordered it. The cost of HoloLens 2 is £3,500. Now let’s find out what you could expect from this follow-up of the 2016 device.

MR device has been improved greatly as compared to its 2016 predecessor. It is very comfortable to wear and provides a more natural hand gesture feature. Eye-tracking has been inserted to improve the user experience. The addition of flip-up visors helps in easy switching of experiences.

Every detail of the HoloLens experience has been vastly improved and upgraded.

Microsoft’s new MR headset has certainly created a new benchmark for MR headsets. HoloLens 2 is not a consumer-focused device, but it promises to be a great tool for industry executives.

Companies that require their entire team connected with HoloLens 2 shall receive Dynamic 365 Remote Assist with each handset they buy. 3Glasses cofirms it will cost $125 per person/month. Technicians would be able to connect with experts that are using smart devices with the help of this video communication system.
HoloLens 2 is going to prove perfect for solo operators.

The solo working developers would be offered developer edition for use by Microsoft. This comes with the following benefits: $500+ credit for MS Azure, 3 month trial of Unity Pro and PiXYZ plugin. All these tools will help you to make HoloLens 2’s enterprise apps.

At a Microsoft HoloLens 2 launch event, I got hold of this freshly made device. I also got to know about the uses of MR devices by companies like Spatial and Hevolus, which are using MR in retail and as a collaboration tool.

During the launch event, we were told that MR is composed of both AR and VR!

Comfort

The previous models of HoloLens headset were highly comfortable according to customers. This is because every component was situated in the front of the headset, thus loading extra weight in the forehead of the user. To rectify this faulty design Microsoft used a halo-within-a-halo design.

This didn’t offer any support to the users. The headset was tight, making it difficult to wear for a longer time.

However, the new design greatly helped in splitting the weight 50-50, by just moving the computer behind the halo. The rest of the components in the headset remained intact. In fact, HoloLens 2 is lighter as compared to its predecessor, but it’s the weight distribution that makes it more comfortable.

Dual halo (halo-within-halo) design is now gone. The single halo design left greatly improved the support for users to wear. When I wore it, the headset balanced perfectly in my head; hence making my interaction with 3D objects easier. Users of the first HoloLens should have no problem noticing this difference.

The addition of flip-up visor serves a great purpose, making it quite easy to switch in and out from MR. During my talk with a Microsoft personnel, I was so immersed in the MR experience that I forgot I wore a headset. It was as easy as starting a fan with the press of a switch, to switch into MR experience.

Hand Gestures

Hand gestures have gotten the most attention of users, as they are quite natural to feel. Grabbing a 3D object using the headset is as easy as grabbing it without the headset. The tapping and pinching gestures that existed in the previous HoloLens were eliminated. Feel of natural gesture is applied in the same way to switches and buttons, as with 3D objects. All you need to do for interaction is to touch them as you do in daily life.

There are also ways to combine gestures like pointing and pulling to enhance your interactive experience with virtual objects. Sometimes they will spin, shrink or get enlarged, all depending on your actions.

However, if you’ve practiced a lot with the first HoloLens then don’t worry; those features are extended to HoloLens 2.

The addition of built-in sensors by Microsoft further helps you in your interaction, making it easier to interact with living virtual objects.

Microsoft also included a UR feature, allowing you to easily open the menu by flipping your hand and pressing the Microsoft logo in the wrist. If your hands are busy, you could alternatively pinch your index finger by the thumb.

An audio AR is also added which could help you experience a slight audio cue during your interaction with an object.

Furthermore, you could also sense you are touching something while during your MR experience.

Eye-Tracking and Voice Command

Eye-tracking was added to this new MR headset for helping users to enjoy a smooth hands-free experience. The previous HoloLens required users to perform actions by speaking, making it difficult to use in a loud environment.
However, in HoloLens 2 the eye-tracking allows easier interaction for the user. For example, if you want to scroll up or down; all you need to do is move your eyes in the direction you want to scroll. Further, it also helped users to continue with their tasks rather than stopping to perform certain actions in MR.
But HoloLens 2 still has the voice command feature, allowing you to operate it with your voice.

Field of View

HoloLens 2 also promises a greater field of view, allowing you a space of 54 degrees diagonally. This wide field of view would also improve the overall texture of 3D objects.

HoloLens 2 will also feature a larger FOV; allowing users to interact easily among themselves when they are using MR. They could easily share information and digital assets among themselves comfortably, thus improving the collaboration between them.

The problem of making gestures of hand at eye-level was also eliminated. Now, as long as you are making gestures in front of HoloLens it’ll acknowledge it.

Overall Thoughts on the HoloLens 2

HoloLens 2 is certainly a revolutionary device that will change the way we communicate, work and collaborate. It has also gone under various upgrades to answer all the problems that users faced.
It is also very comfortable to wear even up to longer periods.

Microsoft has also improved its interactivity, making it easier for us to perform hand gestures. In short, HoloLens 2 is simply magnificent.