Microsoft HoloLens shown off at E3 2015 with Minecraft: Still no release date or price
With Minecraft being shown off at E3 2015 on the Microsoft HoloLens VR headset, we take a look a the possible release date, price and the specs and games - by Chris Martin
With virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus looking like the future of gaming, we investigate the Microsoft HoloLens including release date and price with it making an appearance at E3 2015.
Microsoft said: "Our vision for holographic computing is to transform the world with holograms – seamlessly connecting the digital world with real life. With the ability to design and shape holograms, you will have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas. This means your digital content and creations will be more relevant when they come to life in your world."
Microsoft HoloLens: Release date and price
Although the HoloLens was announced earlier this year at the firm's January event and we've just seen it again at E3 2015, there is still no release date or price to speak of. We expect it to be expensive, of course, and the fact that Microsoft isn't saying when we'll be able to buy it suggests a 2016 arrival at the earliest.
We'll keep this article up to date when more details on the HoloLens release date and price become available.
Microsoft HoloLens: Specs, features and games
Despite the lack of availability information, we do know that Minecraft will be the first game to work with the HoloLens, following Microsoft's Xbox Media Briefing at E3 2015. Minecraft for HoloLens isn't a recreation of the Minecraft game. Instead of a first-person perspective, players get a god-like perspective that allows them to view other players from above, or dive down into the scenery to explore below the surface of the game world.
"Microsoft HoloLens introduces all new ways to game with mixed reality, including “Minecraft” on HoloLens, a fully-featured version of “Minecraft” that allows players to explore the game world in full 3-D," said the firm.
The demonstration at E3 2015 was similar to the one in January but the HoloLens headset mapped out the room including a table and chairs bringing them into the Minecraft world. At E3, Microsoft used a table-top to simulate the Minecraft environment (see the video below).
As you would expect, the HoloLens is compatible with Windows 10 and will come with three processors: CPU, GPU and HPU. The latter is the Holographic Processing Unit which will handle the data from sensors. In real-time it will recognise your gestures, know where you're looking and spatially map the world around you. It uses augmented reality rather than blocking out the world around you.
"The advanced sensors in HoloLens capture information about what you’re doing and the environment you’re in," Todd Holmdahl explained on the Lumia Conversations blog. "This is done through the inertial measurement unit (IMU) which includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. It’s this IMU, coupled with head tracking cameras, which enables HoloLens to understand where your head is and how it’s moving."
The HoloLens has spatial sound so you can hear holograms even when they're behind you. It doesn't have a surround sound system so instead synthesizes a binaural sound which simply tricks your ears and brain.
Microsoft said there is a microphone array to capture your voice commands, a depth sensor that is used to spatially map your environment and interpret your hand gestures and a camera so you can share what you're doing with others.