Microsoft has envisioned a world of holograms which is set to have a profound effect on the building and design industry.
The company’s new wearable technology, entitled HoloLens, is a headset device affixed with ski-mask type lenses to create holograms.
It allows the user to interact with an augmented reality version of their surrounding environment by navigating with their gaze. It also uses voice recognition and hand gestures to help create the new reality.
The device’s ability to scale items in real time, add details to existing products and visualise what a building might look like could make it invaluable to the architecture and design industry.
The technology is also founded on the basis of improving accuracy and providing easier collaboration between project users. Even location won’t be an issue, with individual users able to connect with one another and demonstrate their visions in real time.
The platform was unveiled at the Build 2015 developer conference and is designed to integrate with all of Microsoft’s applications.
Microsoft HoloLens has also begun partnering with companies including technology firm Trimble, which is working to demonstrate the capability toits customers.
Microsoft describes the technology as an “extension” of Trimble’s tools, converting 3D models to life as full-scale holograms.
In a video detailing the partnership, Ben Sugden of Microsoft said HoloLens will give architects “much higher confidence around decision making.”
“One way we can do that is see them literally immerse themselves in the building and see the street side and how the buildings going to look,” he said.
With connectivity also comes the sharing of software, which allows users to share their ideas and holograms with others. There is even Holostudio, which will let users turn their physical objects into 3D print compatibility.
According to Microsoft, the device itself contains more computing power than the average laptop but requires no wires, external cameras or phone or PC connection. It is passively cooled with fans and allows the user to move freely, walking about as they would on a project site.
The headset itself is adjustable and there is an option for prescription lenses.
Another key benefit for the architecture and design industry will be the ability for everyone to visualise what the building, product or other item will look like. Currently, people working on a project work through “paper” or plans.
Interior designers can show clients exactly how a coffee table will look in a room or move furniture around in virtual real time.
Architects can show developers what a building will look like from each angle.
While items like the FitBit going global in the consumer market, commercial wearable technology hasn’t quite made the cut and the disappointment that was Google Glass has eroded market confidence in the field.
Still, many forecast that wearable technology is the way of communicating in the future.
Microsoft’s HoloLens could be a step toward this end goal, but its ski-mask inspired design hasn’t obtained many fans yet.