There's a lot of talk right now about virtual reality but another kind of display technology is also on the cusp of a big breakthrough. Augmented Reality is all about layering information and more across the real world, and one of the biggest devices in this field is the HoloLens from Microsoft.
This product has been keeping itself relatively quiet, working behind the scenes on more real-world applications than the likes of Oculus or the Vive. But you're going to be hearing a lot more about it because the headset is coming to Ireland very soon.
Microsoft has confirmed that the HoloLens is coming to select markets in Europe, with pre-orders now live in Ireland, France, Germany and the UK, as well as Australia and New Zealand. An exact shipping date hasn't been confirmed but it is expected to arrive before the end of 2016.
Described as a 'self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10', the HoloLens is worn on the head and overlays other visual material over what you're seeing of the real world. The result is a 'mixed reality' experience, enriching your regular view.
Here's a video to help you figure out what that actually means.
It's looking pretty amazing. Here's an example of the work NASA is doing with the device.
"Our partnership with NASA brings mixed reality to space exploration and discovery, creating new experiences and educational opportunities for scientists and consumers alike. Together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we have created four groundbreaking mixed-reality applications. The OnSight project enables scientists to use HoloLens to “work on Mars” together, directly from their offices, allowing them a means to plan and, along with the Curiosity Mars Rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet. By extending the OnSight project, in September we opened “Destination: Mars” at the Kennedy Space Center to the public, which allows visitors the only opportunity possible today to walk around the Red Planet, just as NASA scientists do today. The Sidekick project brought HoloLens to the International Space Station to enable station crews to get remote expert assistance when and where they need it, reducing crew training requirements and increasing the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space. The NASA team created the ProtoSpace HoloLens application to build the next generation of spacecraft and space rovers; the application brings 3-D spacecraft designs into the world to help improve the design process."
Currently these pre-orders are for Developers and Commercial partners, with pricing starting at €3299. A consumer edition is expected in the future. Get more info here.