At Microsoft’s press conference for this year’s E3, Microsoft showed their new augmented reality headset, their so-called HoloLens. Augmented reality means that you can see digital objects and images through the HoloLens displayed in reality like your living room. You can, for example, by using HoloLens when cooking have the recipe tacked digitally on the kitchen cabinet and a box that displays the TV on the wall that exists in HoloLens digital ”reality”. Why not display a 3D instruction model beside you to help you when you fix your cars motor or fix your computer. What makes the HoloLens special is that it contains its own computer, which means you do not need to connect any cables or be near a computer for it to work. HoloLens can easily be taken anywhere without the need of an external computer. Please look at the video below to get an understanding of how HoloLens works.
The Future for educational tools?
The HoloLens opens up completely new possibilities for learning and teaching. Suddenly students and teachers can display digital information and experiences right into the analog classroom. Think of it as the classroom can constantly be changing because of the HoloLense capability to build different rooms around you even if the teacher and the students remain in the same physical space. The art class is filled with virtual sculptures and paintings that create inspiration. History teacher shows a three-dimensional map with virtual troop movements during the battle of Stalingrad in an open area in the middle of the classroom. Biology teacher displays the body’s anatomy in a virtual form and displays various body organs and how it works in 3D and students can get a closer look at a detail like how the oxygen fills the lungs. It creates an experience that allows students to become more engrossed and to easier comprehend knowledge because they become so invested in the virtual classroom.
HoloLens creates a new Minecraft
During the press conference Microsoft showed how you could use a game like Minecraft through the Hololens. It showed how you through a voice command can display Minecraft in a square on the wall. But it is not only a projected flat image like a TV, it’s more like a window on the wall. You can walk towards the virtual window and look out into your Minecraft world. If you have friends or students that play on your Minecraft server you can through a voice command bring up the Minecraft world on a table in your home. The world is built up in front of your eyes and you can see how your students or friends walk around in the world. Its a great set up for a teachers’ desk or a living room table. It creates new possibilities to use Minecraft in many new ways, especially if theres an educational purpose. To better understand how it might look like you can watch the video of the press conference below.
However, it has its limitations
HoloLens really seem to offer a unique experience, and those who tried it says it does everything it promises, but with some restrictions. The fact is that everything you see through the Hololens you see through two small square glasses in the headset. So when you are projecting something through the Hololens you wont be able to see everything because you are limited to the size of the square glass. So if you walk closer towards an object to zoom in you will not see the whole object because its not inside the display screen. this means that the illusion and the immersion is often broken because the user is reminded that the digital images are not really there. But critics still say that when the illusion works, it’s a fantastic experience. In the latest information video about the HoloLens Microsoft gives a more ernest view of what the user can see. This is most certainly something that will be fixed in future versions of the HoloLens, but there is no doubt that this is the future.