October 22, 2017

HoloLens, Field of View, and the Fixes…

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hl3closer mars SurfacePro3Primary_Print

 

 

I have talked a lot about HoloLens FOV recently (here, here, here and here). I think simply complaining isn’t the way to go, so be constructive, lets talk about the solution. One thing keep in mind, we don’t know what really happened, or happening, however, we have a lot of information we can base our opinions on.

To conclude my discussion about HoloLens FOV, I bring in several pictures (above) that I think are relevant, also at the end of this post, I put on a video of HoloLens discussion from Windows Weekly.

On January 21st, Microsoft unveiled HoloLens during the Windows 10 event. After the keynote, some journalists were shown an early prototype of HoloLens in person. The entire technology world were shocked to see something so amazing, futuristic and realistic at the same time. No one at the time had any complain about the technology. A few of them had mentioned a small FOV comparing with what they expected. But clearly, they were drawing comparison with VR, which is targeting different audience.

On April 29th at the BUILD keynote, HoloLens was demoed for the second time. The second and third day, many BUILD attendees and members of the media had an opportunity to try out the near final version of HoloLens. The experiences had been same, but with one major exception: the Field of View is considerably more narrow than the first time. Event though people can’t provide a measurement of how much the change has been, but how people feel is more relevant than data.

Clearly, it’s not the technology that can’t deliver the experience people had seen the first time. It’s something has changed between the first prototype (first picture above) and the near final product (second picture). So what have changed?

One important difference that we know of is: the first one was powered by a laptop, while the second one is powered by its own CPU. It was reported HoloLens is sporting Intel Atom CherryTrail CPU. We don’t know what kind of laptop was used, but it can be a more powerful one than CherryTail. Well, another possible change is the light element. By the look of it in the first picture, it’s unlikely the size constraint related to the light system. Or there can be a price constraint, but I feel unlikely.

So, I still lean on the CPU being the major difference that causes the narrow FOV in the current near-final product. If that assumption is true, lets see how it can be fixed.

Remember the newly released Surface 3 (I have one on hand) uses CherryTail CPU, Surface Pro 3 uses Core i3~i7 CPU. Rumors points to a fanless Core i series CPUs for Surface Pro 4. Why can’t they use a Core i3 or i5 CPU on HoloLens? The answer is obviously: heat, size, weight, battery life and price. I want to look at them closely.

As I said, if fanless Core CPU Surface Pro 4 is not just a rumor, then heat wouldn’t an issue. Plus, HoloLens has a double ring design, the computing parts wouldn’t touch human body. Moderate heat is acceptable.

This brings the battery life. When look at Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3, there is no significant difference in battery life. Based on my guess of HoloLens battery life, there is margin to squeeze.

The size of HoloLens is not concern to me. It’s not getting to the size of normal glass any time soon, which is perfectly fine.

What is left is weight and price. Weight would be an issue for consumer products, I have estimated that replace CherryTail CPU with BroadWell can add something like 150gram or even more. 550gram in total would be heavy. However for professional use is fine. Again, if it’s for professional market, price is less important.

I believe there is need for a professional level device in addition to a consumer one. If you look at the Mars demo image on the above, how do you get it work with Mars explorer if you have a narrow FOV? NASA is still saying they are going to use it in summer. I doubt the current one is good enough for NASA. I think Microsoft may have something else worked out, or under work.

 

 

 

 

  • http://www.covertconsulting.com/ Kirk

    To keep the lead they will need to version soon looking at CES this year.