HoloLens has see-through, holographic lenses. Built-in high-end CPU and GPU. We invented a third processor, a holographic processing unit. No wires, no phone required, no connection to a PC needed.
Microsoft has been working with NASA secretly for this technology.
Will be out in windows 10 time frame
wired mag hands on: http://www.wired.com/2015/01/microsoft-hands-on/
More hardware info here:
scroll down until you seed the head set
Kipman’s prototype is amazing. It amplifies the special powers that Kinect introduced, using a small fraction of the energy. The depth camera has a field of vision that spans 120 by 120 degrees—far more than the original Kinect—so it can sense what your hands are doing even when they are nearly outstretched. Sensors flood the device with terabytes of data every second, all managed with an onboard CPU, GPU and first-of-its-kind HPU (holographic processing unit). Yet, Kipman points out, the computer doesn’t grow hot on your head, because the warm air is vented out through the sides. On the right side, buttons allow you to adjust the volume and to control the contrast of the hologram.
Tricking Your Brain
Project HoloLens’ key achievement—realistic holograms—works by tricking your brain into seeing light as matter. “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,” Kipman explains. “If I could magically turn the debugger on, we’d see photons bouncing throughout this world. Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is. You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see.”
To create Project HoloLens’ images, light particles bounce around millions of times in the so-called light engine of the device. Then the photons enter the goggles’ two lenses, where they ricochet between layers of blue, green and red glass before they reach the back of your eye. “When you get the light to be at the exact angle,” Kipman tells me, “that’s where all the magic comes in.”
Thirty minutes later, after we’ve looked at another prototype and some more concept videos and talked about the importance of developers (you always have to talk about the importance of developers when launching a new product these days), I get to sample that magic. Kipman walks me across a courtyard and through the side door of a building that houses a secret basement lab. Each of the rooms has been outfitted as a scenario to test Project HoloLens.
A Quick Trip to Mars
The first is deceptively simple. I enter a makeshift living room, where wires jut from a hole in the wall where there should be a lightswitch. Tools are strewn on the West Elm sideboard just below it. Kipman hands me a HoloLens prototype and tells me to install the switch. After I put on the headset, an electrician pops up on a screen that floats directly in front of me. With a quick hand gesture I’m able to anchor the screen just to the left of the wires. The electrician is able to see exactly what I’m seeing. He draws a holographic circle around the voltage tester on the sideboard and instructs me to use it to check whether the wires are live. Once we establish that they aren’t, he walks me through the process of installing the switch, coaching me by sketching holographic arrows and diagrams on the wall in front of me. Five minutes later, I flip a switch, and the living room light turns on.
Another scenario lands me on a virtual Mars-scape. Kipman developed it in close collaboration with NASA rocket scientist Jeff Norris, who spent much of the first half of 2014 flying back and forth between Seattle and his Southern California home to help develop the scenario. With a quick upward gesture, I toggle from computer screens that monitor the Curiosity rover’s progress across the planet’s surface to the virtual experience of being on the planet. The ground is a parched, dusty sandstone, and so realistic that as I take a step, my legs begin to quiver. They don’t trust what my eyes are showing them. Behind me, the rover towers seven feet tall, its metal arm reaching out from its body like a tentacle. The sun shines brightly over the rover, creating short black shadows on the ground beneath its legs.
Norris joins me virtually, appearing as a three-dimensional human-shaped golden orb in the Mars-scape. (In reality, he’s in the room next door.) A dotted line extends from his eyes toward what he is looking at. “Check that out,” he says, and I squat down to see a rock shard up close. With an upward right-hand gesture, I bring up a series of controls. I choose the middle of three options, which drops a flag there, theoretically a signal to the rover to collect sediment.
After exploring Mars, I don’t want to remove the headset, which has provided a glimpse of a combination of computing tools that make the unimaginable feel real. NASA felt the same way. Norris will roll out Project HoloLens this summer so that agency scientists can use it to collaborate on a mission.