July 15, 2015

New HoloLens Video Showcases The Technology’s Limitations

Microsoft’s new VR technology dubbed HoloLens is getting a lot of attention based on some amazing E3 demonstrations we’ve seen so far. The only problem is, it’s hard to tell what it’s like in person to use the HoloLens.

A lot of previewers have been complaining about the limitations of the system saying it has a small field of view. What that means is when you’re looking through the visor the screen is smaller than the whole view so you can see beyond the edges of the image which makes it look like you’re watching a mini hologram video in the real world. For instance, instead of your Minecraft world looking like it’s laying right on top of your table it looks more like a Minecraft-themed coffee table book laying there. Microsoft has admitted this is an issue but they haven’t owned up to the bigger issue plaguing the technology.

In addition to the small field of view, the HoloLens detects your eye movements and can only show a small cone of what you’re seeing at any given moment. That means there is a kind of radial blur effect on whatever you’re looking at. You can only see in that cone and everything else is blurred. Microsoft has been trying to keep this under wraps but a new video puts this issue right out there for all to see.

If you watch the above video you can see how this might look to a user and what this might mean for the future of the HoloLens and possibly VR itself. If you watch closely you can see that most of the screen is blurry except for a small clear circle following the movement of the user’s eyes. This may work for intricate heart surgery like the video teases but it’s hard to see how we’ll be able to play some kick ass video games without being able to see more of the screen.

Microsoft has said that this is temporary and that eventually the whole screen will be blurred which will add a layer of mystery to every experience. Time will tell if that’s true but for now, here’s hoping that we see some improvement closer to the release date.

Microsoft plans to release HoloLens alongside its Windows 10 operating system sometime in July. The HoloLens Home Edition will include the visor only but if you want to unlock its major features (power on, audio, vision) then you’ll need to buy one of the three other editions being released – Enterprise, Premium or  HoloLens ME.

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