How Holograms Could Change How You Work and Play
Holograms are an exciting productivity trend that is gaining speed, as evidenced by Microsoft’s HoloLens headset and sensor system for home, work, and education.
But what exactly is it? Virtual reality? Can you edit and work with these holographic interfaces? Here is some perspective on what users of Windows 10 and other Microsoft products can look forward to.
What is Holographic Computing?
On its official
HoloLens site, Microsoft describes it this way:
“For the first time ever, Microsoft HoloLens brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things. Holograms will improve the way you do things every day, and enable you to do things you’ve never done before.”
While we do not know specifics yet in regards to how this could affect Microsoft Office, upcoming changes to how we use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest certainly seem imminent thanks HoloLens.
Goodbye Keyboard, Mouse, Track Pad, and Touch Screen?
Manipulating menus and communicating comes down to a few key input methods–which are not your keyboard, mouse, track pad, or touch screen in HoloLens:
- Voice – HoloLens takes advantage of Cortana digital assistant integration.
- Eye Gestures – HoloLens can see what you are looking at and can treat this as a type of command.
- Hand Gestures – Rather than mouse-clicking or track-pad gesturing, make selections mid-air, for example.
If you have used Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for Xbox, this will not seem wholly new to you.
Again, specifics are not readily available, but it is not much of a leap to assume that some of us will be creating Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Outlook documents differently in the near future. We will likely author text, edit objects like charts, and give tool commands with our gestures, eyes, and voices.
Quality of the Hologram Imaging
While hologram quality is largely a question of trying it out for yourself, Microsoft does claim that objects will look as real as anything in the room.
I imagine that is a bit of an exaggeration, especially after viewing several demonstration videos on YouTube. But I also think the imaging looks pretty awesome and I love that productivity is headed in this direction.
Beyond Augmented or Virtual Reality
A big difference between this and many alternate reality systems you may have been exposed to is that HoloLens is intended to blend in with your real surroundings, rather than create a wholly different artificial environment. In that sense, it goes beyond virtual reality and augmented reality, according to Microsoft.
But Isn’t All This Just Really Creepy?
After all, if your HoloLens sensors can see your surroundings, eye gestures, and creations, then so can hackers, potentially. It will be interesting to see how the security piece of this develops.
More Productivity Implications
Here are some additional ways holographic computing could affect how you get things done in the not too distant future:
- Collaboration. Share your HoloLens realities with others who are in a different environment than you.
- Distance Learning. Interact with places you cannot physically visit.
- Shopping. View products in your own environment before making a final purchasing decision.
- Remote Problem-solving. Thanks to HoloNotes in Skype, you can help others with a problem such as repairing something in their environment. That’s right–you can also communicate with this hologram technology. Pretty cool!
This is just the beginning of how Office and productivity habits in general are likely to be affected by HoloLens and other emerging technologies.
Also, keep in mind that this experience is a premium one. While it has been built for Windows 10, the headset and sensor are something you likely purchase separately.