June 27, 2017

HoloLens Is Pushed Farther Back?

hololens1

New reports have pointed out new progress in HoloLens. It is rather disappointing.

Let me a few things here:

1. HoloLens will be released sometime in 2016. Last time they said “certainly within a year”, that was a month ago. The two time are overlapped, but you can see the change of tune. “Within a year” and “Within next year” are certainly two different things.

2. When it does, it will be for developers and businesses, which indicates even at that time, the FOV is still not fixed, or improved that much.

3. HoloLens is on a 5 year journey. What does that mean? The implication is obvious, and I don’t want to talk about it.

Other than disappointment, I don’t have anything to say right now.

 

 

How It’s Made: Holographic Videos Viewable by HoloLens

hl

 

I posted a while ago that Microsoft had created Holo-Video studio to capture holographic video to be played on Hololens. Now Microsoft posted a video (embedded below) to show how that works.

 

 

Here is what happens.

In order to mask the surroundings, performance are done on a green stage with green walls. It takes 106 synced RGB and IR cameras to capture the live information.

It first generates 2.7 million per frame point clouds with both RGB and IR info. Then It generates 1 million triangles (finite elements) per frame topology data. After they apply certain logic to determine which area are more important, so increase density of the mesh, which areas are not important to decrease mesh density. The result is 20K per frame triangles. Finally, they wrap it with texture. And then put all information together, compress it, encode it to form a single file, playing at 12Mbits/sec.

The last number is important one. 12 Mega bits/sec is not small. It means a 5 minutes video takes up 360MB storage. It’s big, but not huge. Streaming at 12Mbit/sec is piece of cake on WiFi. Streaming over Internet can be an issue though.

 

 

 

 

Media Digest: Why HoloLens FOV Doesn’t Matter

 

hololens3

 

Peter Bright has posted a commentary article about his view of HoloLens’ status, past and future. The article is titled: The HoloLens’ limited field of view doesn’t matter, and here’s why.

Before getting started, I want to say, Peter Bright is one of a few tech writers who knows what he is writing. Well, I say that because a half of them don’t.

In the article, Peter has given Microsoft the sharpest criticism  over its handling of HoloLens. I agree with him. I have never seen Microsoft act like this since many years ago. Today’s Microsoft don’t over promise and under deliver. That’s what I see overall, okay you might find exceptions, but they don’t void the rule. HoloLens is a remarkable exceptions. I don’t know what went through people’s minds. I respect Alex Kipman tremendously, but you can’t show people something you can’t do for a couple years. People do not expect an end products be less awesome than its early prototype.

I am hugely disappointed over those actions. You simply can’t do that.

The second point from Peter was: regardless FOV, HoloLens can succeed in business, and positioning HoloLens for enterprises in a good bet. Not only because there are many uses in enterprises, and not only business is a more profitable market, but also because it can give Microsoft time to reach a immersive FOV for the next iteration.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Recommended Read: HoloLens Explained

 

hololens1

 

There is a video created by ColdFustion to explain HoloLens in details. They have really done their homework. That’s basically a consolidation what have been shown and written about HoloLens since January. For savvy readers who know well about HoloLens, some of the explanation may be redundant, but even that, it is refreshing that someone put the things together in a clear, and knowledgeable way. Some of the comments from the video are right to the point. I have embedded the video here, please watch it here. I think you will enjoy it.

 

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

HoloLens Is Part of Windows Strategy

 

hl4

 

Mary Jo has posted an iconic interview.   Go to the article, search HoloLens, you can found at least 18 of them. That tells a lot about importance of HoloLens.

Second thing you will found out is: Microsoft will probably focus on businesses first. That’s not a surprise, since I have said the same thing repeatedly. Also, we have learned from the article that Microsoft have found strong interests in businesses. That’s great news. Generally speaking, enterprise market is far more profitable and lasting than consumer market. If a company use one product, they use it for life.

Another thing to note is, games for HoloLens are still in development. So, it sounds like consumer release is a little off right now, even though the hardware is ready.

 

For sure in the first version, it’s going to be more about developers and enterprise scenarios

In the HoloLens case, when I look at the interest, it’s amazing how many are in hospitals, healthcare, retail. That’s where I’m seeing the interest and we’ll definitely go after it.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

HoloLens Is Demoed Again at WPC

 

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WPC is under way right now. HoloLens is demoed again on stage. It was shown working with Autodesk Maya for 3D design and modeling. It’s a recap actually. But important thing to note is: Microsoft is putting great effort on business side for HoloLens. I will update if there is anything new.

 

Please visit WPC website, it is live now.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Will There Be Any Contents about HoloLens in WPC?

 

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The recent activities point to an emphasis on business side regarding to HoloLens. So far, the only consumer focused story is Minecraft, and maybe Skype too, but there are more business side stories: from Sidekick to Medical education, to the highlights from Object Theory. Looks like Microsoft is putting great effort on business side for HoloLens.

WPC (Microsoft World Partner Conference) starts Monday July 12. I am very hopeful that there will be HoloLens related contents.

This tweet from Alex Kipman doesn’t necessarily say anything, but I hope it does:

Please visit WPC website in the next a few days, starting today.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

The Frustrations of HoloLens

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The feelings among the fans over HoloLens have been dramatic: from sudden excitement to sudden frustration. I think I can speak for many people. I want to take look back and try to figure out what happened and what’s going to happen.

There are two reasons for the frustration.

The first is obvious. They had set the expectation too high. Too high that they can’t meet it any time soon. That’s obviously a big mistake, which I still find it hard to understand. In recent years, Microsoft have been following the philosophy of under promise and over deliver. I started to get used to it. That’s why I found it shocking when we find out the FOV issue. The product seems to be very much polished, so for that to turn to today’s form is not months work. I am quite sure they know what they can deliver long before January. But anyways.

The second source of frustration is they don’t share the reason behind this due to competitive reason, that we understand. They can’t even give a vague time line on future plans. Obviously they can’t, they have to sell the current one first. The issue is they have set the expectation too far ahead. It is a problem when the product doesn’t even have a release date, people are already looking at version 2.

The result is: many people who were interested start to watch on the side line. Product like this usually sells to fans first, unless it is very cheap, which is unlikely. There are many business use cases, but business adoption is generally slow.

I don’t know how, but keep fans frustrated is not a good business. At least you should give them something to wait for.
HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Microsoft Announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program

 

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Microsoft have just announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program.

 

What Is It?

It is a research grant, to research institutions, mostly Universities. 5 winning applicants will be awarded in approximately $100K each, including monetary and hardware. HoloLens will be provided, of course. Co-funding is welcomed. Also upon completion of the research project, a larger found may or may not continue.

 

Who Is Eligible?

Universities in the US. It doesn’t say it has to be Universities, but they are the main targets. It requires the research project to be non-profit in nature.

 

When to Apply?

Proposals can be submitted right now, and before 11:30 P.M. (Pacific Daylight Time) on September 5, 2015. Follow the above link to find where to submit your RFP (Requestion For Proposal). Also read details from the above linked web page.

 

Who Should Care?

If you are teaching or studying in any of Universities in the US, and your research field matches,  that’s a pretty good fund for a couple of post-grad studies.  You may find a job in Microsoft afterwards, who knows.

 

I have hoped for 50 instead of 5, but still good.
HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

What Is the FOV of the Movie Theaters?

mars

 

I am not talking about home theaters, but the real movie theaters.

This one was not planned. After posting “What Is the FOV of My TV? “, I went to the movie theater with my child, watching a movie called “Inside Out”. Turns out, that’s a good movie. Mostly fun, but at one point, it brought me to tears, really. It’s really an intelligent movie, for children and adults. It tells story about how a little girl’s brain works, why  a child (or a grow-up) act or feel that way. I think it is educational for all of us.

I am not here to promote that movie, but it happened before the movie starts: We got in early, so we picked best seats possible. An idea popped up, why don’t I measure the FOV of the movie screen? So, I did.

I remember the method from doc-ok.org, but since I don’t have HoloLens constraint, so I can measure it easier way. I put my phone in front of my eyes, making it just cover the screen, and I put my finger in front of my eyes, so I know how far away the phone is from my eyeballs. My phone is not exactly same shape as the screen, but I was able to put one finger on top it to make up the difference. When I got home, I measured it up. The result is in the following picture.

fov-2

The view angles (max) from where I sat, that’s a good seat, are 65 x 41 degrees. I want to remind everyone, from last post, I got my TV’s view angles: 19 x 11 degrees, and HoloLens FOV: 30 x 18 degrees.

I venture to guess that the movie screen’s FOV is somewhere in the range of the first HoloLens prototype, which is not prefect, but pretty good.

Hopefully that gives you a perspective of what it’s like wearing the current HoloLens and early prototype HoloLens regarding the FOV.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

What Is the FOV of My TV?

mars

 

I know that’s a wrong question, but out of curiosity, I want to do something fun and practical. Read on, see if it makes sense.

Over the past a few months, especially last two months, there have been too many talks about HoloLens FOV. I have wrote a ton of posts myself. I thought I have got tired of it already, obviously not.

People say, no matter what exactly the FOV is, I have tried it in person, I know it was small, it must be small, that’s what counts. That’s true, but not the whole truth. There is a limitation in personal experiences, even hundreds of people’s: You have experienced certain set-ups, there are more situations you haven’t seen than you have. Now, I am trying to make a point on that.

Over the week end, I have got an idea: I want to find out what my TV’s FOV is. By that I mean the maximum viewing angles (vertical and horizontal) if I sit at a comfortable viewing distance. I have a 47″ HDTV, medium size of today’s standard at home (not in the market right now). I usually sit 10′ from the screen. A little too close than I want. I can watch it from 15′ without feeling too far away, should my living room be longer. Also I measured the width and height of the TV screen. See the drawings below. For comparison, I did same measurement to my computer with a 20″ monitor (within the brackets). The comfortable distance from my eyes to the screen is 24″ in this case.

fov

With that measurement, I got viewing angles for the TV: 19 x 11 degrees, for the computer: 40 x 23 degrees.

So, what is the HoloLens’ FOV? The most reliable source I find is what was done in doc-ok.org,  which is 30 x 17.5 degrees. It falls between my TV and my computer monitor.

I know people say viewing angles depend on how far away you are standing from the object. That’s true, but what matters is what use cases you are looking at. I have given two typical cases. One is watching TV, video, and playing games. Another is working on textual contents that usually watched close up. The view angles have to be like that, otherwise you wouldn’t feel comfortable and your doctors wouldn’t suggest you to do that.

What my calculation suggests is if you want to be immersed into a large digital scene, HoloLens FOV is certainly not good. But for cases you are OK to watch or play from a distance, or watch smaller objects close up, the current FOV is sufficient. The Minecraft on the table and Skype are two good examples of the latter. That’s why NASA is OK with it.

At the very least, I can guarantee that if you want to get comparable experience to watching TV or playing games on a 50″~60″ TV, HoloLens can certainly do that. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview

 

 

Why Is There No HoloLens SDK?

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This post is long over due. I have had it in the backlog for a while, now I can’t wait anymore.

 

A Bit of History…

Since the day HoloLens went public, which was January 21, 2015, the developer community have been discussing the possibility of HoloLens SDK. People posted on  Channel 9 of the up coming Windows Holographic APIs from Windows 10 build 9926. They have discovered that there are many holographic related namespaces, even holographic controls (in C++):

Windows::Mirage::HologramFramework::Controls::Button
Windows::Mirage::HologramFramework::Controls::ListView
Windows::Mirage::HologramFramework::Controls::TextBlock
Windows::Mirage::HologramFramework::Controls::TextBox

The good people from NUI World had discovered namespaces like the following (in C#):

Windows.Human
Windows.Human.Gestures
Windows.Human.Hands
Windows.World
Windows.World.Lighting.Prototype
Windows.World.Sensors
Windows.World.Surfaces
Windows.World.Surfaces.Prototype

I had explored Windows 10 debug symbols myself. All those made us to believe that Windows Holographic Platform is well defined from the beginning. There were three distinct namespaces: Human, World, and Mirage, which represent the whole picture of the mixed reality. Please check my early post here.

 

Then It Happened…

We understand at the beginning that HoloLens is one of many Windows 10 devices. It is said from January 21 that all Windows 10 universal apps will run on HoloLens. We also understand HoloLens is a special Windows 10 device, maybe more special than a phone or a tablet. We understand again, for special device families, there is something called Extension SDK to deal with the specialties of certain features that are not implemented on all devices. Naturally, we have guessed this must be the case for HoloLens.

General consensus is there should a set of special APIs for Hololens, or more broadly for Windows Holographic Platform. Even today, you go to HoloLens official website, click Developers on top, then scroll to the bottom to Q&A section, expend “When will the SDK available?”, the answer shows,

We look forward to sharing information on the SDK for Microsoft HoloLens soon. The best way to ensure you receive developer updates and holographic APIs when available is to join the Windows Insider Program.

As it turns out this is false.

Yesterday, Alex Kipman (you don’t know who he is ?!) tweeted in response to #HoloLensDevs,


He actually said the same thing long before yesterday. He had made the clear at Build 2015, there is no special APIs that is specific for HoloLens, therefore SDK won’t be needed. Please check the embedded video at end of the post (@2:20).

Interesting thing is: Out of curiosity, I checked the latest Windows 10 debug symbol packages, well, the latest is still very old, it corresponds to Build 10074, the pdbs that contain afore-mentioned namespaces no longer exist.  For example there use to be,

windows.mirage.hologramframework.pdb

and many other hologram related pdbs, now only a few suspected ones are left, like,

windows.mirage.holgramframwork.query.pdb
holoshellruntime.pdb

In any case, this is the very much a confirmation, that HoloLens APIs were planned, and then removed.

 

To Understand the Fact…

Knowing the fact there will be no HoloLens API, or HoloLens SDK, or Windows Holographic SDK in general is one thing, understanding it is another.

It’s kind of strange why there is no need for HoloLens SDK at all? The way I understand this is: HoloLens is no different than any other Windows 10 devices. It is a PC indeed, by any definition. The only difference, apart from worn on head and look nothing like a computer, is: it is a computer with a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, touch interface, voice interface all built-in. As it happened, that’s a special monitor, it shows 2D objects and 3D objects, and they are called holograms. That’s all, why do we need any specially SDK at all?

One possible implication is developers will not have access to the spatial mapping data. This can be either a good thing or bad thing. Good thing because the OS hide the complexity, so developers wouldn’t have to worry about the contours of the environment. It’s real hard to write good games or apps if you consider that. Bad thing because sometimes, the environment matters, if you develop a virtual pet, you don’t want it to walk in the air right? This is unknown to me.

When you think of OEMs, who are developing VR devices or AR devices other than HoloLens. They need to write drivers in Windows 10 for their devices, there might be special DDKs for them, which is generally not what we are worrying about.

But wait, how about mixed reality video capturing. That was the thing appeared in the old debug symbols, but disappeared now. Alex had said the function is there (@ the end of the video). Will it be exposed to developer as an API, or to the end user through the OS, or both? We don’t have answer yet.

 

 

Microsoft Is Working to Implement Holo-Video Recording For HoloLens

Tech In Short: Surface 3

 

 

 

Company Is Hiring for HoloLens Related Position

 

ddd
Via Reddit, I have learned that a company from Seattle is hiring HoloLens related developer position on Dice.com. The job position reads,

Seattle-based digital creative agency 8ninths is seeking experienced Unity developers to join a small team to work with Microsoft’s cutting-edge mixed-reality sorcery, HoloLens. We’ll be creating high-end software for enterprise clients.

The job mainly involves development in C# with Unity. Reps from the company have revealed “We’ve experienced the full set of Hololens demos at Microsoft.” Not sure what that means. The founders of the company are said to be former Microsoft employees. They may have some internal information that we are not sure yet.

One thing to note is that it is rare for a company to invest in an unreleased product or technology from another company. Most companies only research, test and get ready for new technologies they see have potential. For the case of 8ninths, it’s likely they are a partner of Microsoft, or they know well enough to understand the technology potential. It seems they do have internal access to HoloLens.

 

HoloLens Hiring Acitivities Show Microsoft Is Serious About HoloLens

HoloLens at E3 – What to Expect

 

 

Xbox One Latest Update: Anything to Do with HoloLens?

 

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Microsoft had released a minor update for Xbox One on June 5th. Microsoft have said on its Xbox website that the update only include a few fixes. But also added one thing:

10-bit HD High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) platform support added

Also, yesterday evening, Forbes reported that Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb had tweeted that there is new update to Xbox One, that may change the interface to prepare for the future.

Your Xbox One will get a small update today. No new features. Just a few behind the scenes changes to prepare for the future.

I couldn’t find that tweet, so not sure if that’s the same thing as the first one above or different one. There is no log for that yet on Xbox One support page. Forbes said it might be something relates to UI change. That’s pure speculation, I don’t really buy that theory, because it makes no sense to me to change UI knowing Windows 10 will kick in within two months.

I suspect the above two (if they are not the same) are both related to E3, but how? We know E3 is all about games. The main stage will be set for new titles, a lot of snake peeks and demo plays. However, I think E3 wouldn’t be complete without stream between Xbox One and PCs.  In the context of HEVC, Microsoft mentioned video streaming like Netflix. If that’s just improvement over video streaming, it won’t make it to the news at all.  I am not sure if HEVC is newly added or 10-bit HEVC is newly added. I hope for the first. HEVC is said to have doubled the compression ratio over MPEG and MP4. That’s pretty big.

You already know I am hoping for game streaming, that’s totally different thing than video streaming because the former doesn’t tolerant delays. HEVC will certainly make video transmission much faster, but if the codec process is too slow, it can cause overhead too.

The bigger question is: will it make it to HoloLens? Why do I ask this question? Because 1. For HoloLens, streaming makes a night-or-day difference. 2. A new codec means streaming through WIFI would be possible.

I will be disappointed if this won’t happen in E3.

Field Of Vision: A Short Story

Windows 10 SKUs: The Most Concise List

HoloLens at E3 – What to Expect

 

 

HoloLens: Recommended Reading – Stream Xbox One Games to Windows 10 PC

 

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Tom Warren posted this article: Streaming Xbox One games to a Windows 10 PC is awesome on April 30 (during the Build Conference). If you care about HoloLens, this is great new. That’s why recommend to read that article and watch the video again.

Why is this important? Imagine replacing the laptop with a HoloLens. Hook it with Xbox One and the controller. Start Xbox App in HoloLens, select a game to play. You get the game plays on Xbox, it uses Xbox CPU and GPU but HoloLens as a display. The only thing is missing is how to have a wired connection between Xbox One and a HoloLens.

However streaming alone won’t make HoloLens desirable unless HoloLens can show the game contents in 3D. Actually, most game plays already in 3D format, just need HoloLens to realize that. I feel this is very close to reality once Windows 10 is released.

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

 

 

HoloLens at E3 – What to Expect

e3

A week from today, on June 15th, E3 will start in Los Angeles. Exhibition dates are from 16 to 18, but press events start June 15th.

The major events we are looking at are:

Microsoft press conference – June 15 at 12:30am ET

This is traditional Xbox time slot. New games would be the main theme, but there could be more.

PC Gaming conference – June 16 at 8:00pm ET

This is the first time PC gaming is premiered in E3. Microsoft’s involvement could be the main reason, and Windows 10 is the reason behind all these.

 

So, how does HoloLens fit into this?

First, as Alex Kipman said during Build 2015, HoloLens is a mobile gaming device. Games developed targeting HoloLens will be relatively light weighted games. However, streaming from Xbox to PCs is sure to happen. HoloLens is a PC, right? Why would it be a problem with HoloLens? Here is the thing: Stream from Xbox to PC is through wire. Wireless streaming is still not a reality dues to the bandwidth, but what’s wrong with wired streaming from Xbox to HoloLens. Nothing wrong for a gamer. I certainly don’t mind wearing HoloLens while playing Xbox games with cable connecting the two.

If streaming like that happens, I guarantee every Xbox owners own a HoloLens within two years.

I am not a gamer, but if there is HoloLens involved, I will be.

 

 

HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

 

hl4

 

The following is a list of posts of mine about HoloLens FOV. That’s the result of my research of the topic in the past. I feel it’s time to put them together, hope it gives a better picture of what the matter is. I want to quote what Bill Gates said about HoloLens a couple months ago.

Making the device so you don’t get dizzy or nauseous is really hard.

I think that’s the center of the problem everyone in AR/VR trying to solve. We had already seen how it could work in January, we wouldn’t mind to see the same happens in final products.

 

HoloLens FOV: Why Some Are Bigger, Others Are Smaller?

Field Of Vision: A Short Story

HoloLens: Checking with the Reality

HoloLens, Field of View, and the Fixes…

Realizing HoloLens Field of View (FOV)

HoloLens FOV – What’s Next

HoloLens – The Matter of FOV

Analyzing HoloLens Field of View (FOV) – Updated

 

 

Field Of Vision: A Short Story

* This post is filed under Fictional Reality genre.

 

proto1-ConvertImage

 

When: April 21, 2015. Three months after HoloLens first unveiling to the public, one week before Build 2015.

Where: Lab 12. One of most secretive bunkers under the vast land of Redmond.

Characters: Terry, a cooperate executive in Redmond. Joe, a highly publicized cooperate VP who reports to Terry. Alex, an inventor and tenured researcher who is in charge of Project HoloLens.

Settings: A self-service bar with highest security possible. The lock can only be opened when Terry, Joe and Alex are present at the same time. Each of them are holding a separate 128 byte key by a special GUID generator. They all have to memorize them. The lock can only be opened with that 384 characters.

 

It’s 4:00 in the morning. The sky looks more grimy than it should be, and this is the 5th days of non-stopping rain. “April rain, May flowers”, as the saying goes, but you have to realize this is Redmond.

Alex drives his SUV from his office in main campus Building 24  to Lab 12. After first security check, he is allowed to park his car in front of the lab. Terry and Joe are already waiting in front of the door. It’s a routine: three line up in order of T-J-A, and type their 128 byte password, they have to all finish within 30 second.

The room is tinny and simple. Terry sits down. Joe sits down, so does Alex.

Terry:  “What the hell is that little light flashing over the table?”

Joe: “That is Alex’s new prototype HoloLens,” winking to Alex.

Terry: “Didn’t they say no electronics is allowed in this room?” Terry smashed the HoloLens into pieces with a construction hammer.

Alex: “Terry, you just destroyed my entire night of work!”

Terry: “So?”

Alex is left shaking his head.

Terry: “OK, guys. Again congrats for the show of Windows 10, particularly, the HoloLens! Now we have another show to  do next week: the Build Conference… What’s wrong with your face Alex?”

Alex: “What?”

Terry: “Joe, how does he look?”

Joe: “Miserable?”

Alex: “No, I don’t… Ah, well, I am stressed out.”

Terry: “Go ahead…”

Alex: “OK, gentlemen, we have a tough choice here. The Cherry Trail didn’t work out on HoloLens. We need a more powerful one, but that won’t be available soon enough for the Build. So, we have 500 HoloLens ready in the truck for San Francisco this morning. We can either have a small FOV with no image shifting, no nauseating, or big FOV with noticeable the other two.”

Terry: “Shit! What do you think?”

Alex: “Well, I don’t know. That’s why we are here.”

Terry: “OK. Head for small FOV, tail for nauseating.  I throw this quarter, Joe catch it in the air and pan it to the table.”

The result, as everybody already know is Head.

The meetings happen here are always short and effective, like this one. So out they went.

On the way back to his office, Alex picks up this Lumia 940XL prototype (as a gift from Joe), and calls the guy on the truck: “Where is the truck? OK then, tune down the FOV.”

 

 

 

 

Realizing HoloLens Field of View (FOV)

motor

 

My posts about FOV are not done. I still have at least two more, this is one of the two. Why? Because people care, and because I have something to say. For reference, please check out my other posts:

Lets get right to it. As mentioned before, I was convinced the HoloLens’ FOV has become a problem, and Microsoft should do anything possible to fix that before the product goes to the market. In the meantime, I suspect that the limitations that constrain the FOV may not have an easy fix. I mean there are clearly ways to extend the FOV, but trade offs may make it not worth while. The likely scenario is: It will get fixed to some extent, but not restoring to its January level.

Realizing it is an issue, I do feel it is over-blown in the media. It’s disappointing only because we know what it could do three month before. If out of nowhere, someone showed you a device like this, everyone would still be blown away. It’s still undeniably magical. Like what they said, the thing exists itself is no short of a miracle.

So, what if there is no major fix? What if the product is release as is now? What kind of experience can we get?

First, we need to understand, FOV is not the only factor. Distance play a big role in regard how much you can see. If you imagine you are looking at the holograms anywhere beyond 10 feet, that wouldn’t be a problem. I believe most game setups are not close to the player, unless you have to kick something by feet, or grab something by hands, that figure better be small. If you are in a virtual concert, you expect the holo-people all around you, that wouldn’t be possible. The Mars exploration scene wouldn’t be possible, because when you step on the hologram, part of it would be gone.  If you pin holograms all over on the wall, you won’t see them all at once until you step 15 feet away. Minecraft would be hard too.

But many other things are still fine. The Skype plumbing would work as intended. AutoCAD on a desktop while a hologram 3D model beside you will still good. If you use HoloLens as a HD TV, it will still work perfectly. You don’t watch HDTV 5 feet from your eyes, right? Trimble construction example will still be realized well. The medical professor can still show human anatomy in 3D hologram in class, just don’t sit in the front row. Most of the holo-ideas will work as expected. Virtually anything that is fine with a distance would still not be affected that much.

But we are not satisfied with that, we want to see more. In my next post, I will show you what can be done to achieve that.

 

 

 

Some More Speculations About HoloLens

 

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I have a few things to write about HoloLens, but haven’t find time to do that. After reading Paul Thurrott’s article “Next Up for Microsoft: New Hardware“, can’t resist the temptation anymore. So, here it goes.

I go to Paul’s article, scroll right to HoloLens. Well, he said what I wanted to say, but there are something where I hold my own opinions.

I totally agree that the FOV issue needs to be addressed one way or the other before release. I think they will, but a major improvement is unlikely due to hardware constraint. I remember somewhere on the online comments, someone mentioned Microsoft had tested internally that a wider FOV makes people dizzy. I think this guy is on to something. This is more likely due to processing power on these close to final devices are not enough to generate and project lights fast enough, or eye tracking can catch up. I am not sure if they have tricks in hand, but it’s a hard problem to solve, unless…

Paul has said,

What it really needs is a “Pro” version with a much bigger, welder-style front-lens to be truly immersive, but whatever.

That’s what I thought too, please read here. I think the challenge of  “Pro” is not the size, it’s the weight and price. I have tested myself (sort of), 400 gram of the current weight, is probably the upper limited. Unless they make it helmet like. I would guess, and hope a “Pro” version exists. Just want to mention, there was a picture of Terry, Joe and Alex wearing HoloLens together, the top front strips looked very reflective. Others are not so reflective. It might be that the pictures was taken from the most reflective angle. Also in the Trimble video, They look more reflective. I don’t know, it could be anything, but I hope they are different models.

About the size and look, I wouldn’t trade it to the glass looking ones. Those glasses, like the ones from ODG are lighter and smaller, but I think they look much worse than how the HoloLens look. “Why?” you ask. The reason is the ODG ones look too much like normal glasses, so people subconsciously draw comparison to glasses, but they are just ugly glasses. On other hand, HoloLens draws comparison to HMDs, well, this is probably the best looking HMD with no argument. (You know why donkeys look fine but monkeys don’t? Same logic, they look too much like human.)  I would take the best looking HMD over the ugly look glasses any day.

About release date, I think it will release before end of year, regardless of FOV. I originally firmly believed it has to be released before end of July, but I can’t say that anymore because of the FOV thing. NASA still says they will deploy OnSight in summer. Well, they can’t officially deploy it before Microsoft release it, right? What other ways are possible?