May 29, 2020

Media Digest: Why HoloLens FOV Doesn’t Matter




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




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




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




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?




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



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



Live Webcast: HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program



I posted yesterday that Microsoft Announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program. Now we have learned that this grant program will be further discussed on the opening day of Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, which is tomorrow, July 8, starting 8:30am PDT, or 11:30 EDT. Will be live streamed here.

We will demonstrate more ways that HoloLens is helping people create, learn, communicate, collaborate, work and play.

I expect it will be all about the research grant, but with the above comments, I wouldn’t rule out something fresh. So tune in if you would. The fact the Microsoft make it such a big deal, event live stream it (Did they ever live broadcast Microsoft Research Faculty Summit? I don’t remember), deserves more attention from us.



Microsoft Announced HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program




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?



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, 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.


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



Check MINECON 2015 This Weekend for HoloLens



More or less, there will be some HoloLens related information in MINECON 2015. It happens this weekend: July 4/5 in London.

Here is live stream info:

Three streams will be live at throughout the weekend:
· – The main MINECON stream, from the Studio in the Expo Hall (North Halls)
· – Dedicated Main Stage Stream (South Halls)
· – Dedicated Panel Room 1 Stream (S1 & S2)

Important times:

Saturday  5:30am  – 6:30am ET – Opening Ceremony (Main Stream and Stage Stream)

Of course you don’t want to get up 5:30 am, then 14:30am ET – 11:30pm ET – Re-stream of content from the day for US audience (all streams)

Full schedule is here.


HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview



Recommended Readings: Lego & HoloLens



Found an article on Matthew Sekol’s blog called The Most Intriguing Ways Lego Could Leverage the HoloLens. In the article, Matthew talked about how Lego can benefit from leveraging the HoloLens technology. He went into details on how HoloLens can be used in build process, and other business aspects.

The article is very well researched and very well written. I learned a lot from the reading. It was posted on Feb 17, so it is based much on information of the time. However, I think everything written in the article are still valid. Articles like that are timeless. I like it when people really spend time and present something that you don’t see anywhere else.

What I want to add to his points are: When children are done with the building, HoloLens can add characters in the scene to make it alive. The attraction is instantly there. Also, Matthew concerned about discomfort for children. I think Alex Kipman had addressed that briefly during NASA press event last week.

I personally think for Lego to embrace HoloLens is a brilliant idea for Lego’s good. I have no doubt this will happens, because if there is business, someone will do it.

Did I forget about FOV? No, I didn’t. In this case, FOV is irrelevant.


HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview



Disney Infinity Is Interested in Building for HoloLens



John Vignocchi, VP of production at Disney Interactive shared the idea with Engadget recently.

We’ve had multiple meetings and discussions with Oculus, multiple meetings and discussions with Sony about Morpheus, multiple meetings and discussions with Microsoft about HoloLens. We’re very interested in that space. There’s the socialization problem right now with VR, but augmented reality is very exciting.

You kind of look at Microsoft’s HoloLens stuff where you can kind of see through and that one’s kind of interesting from that perspective because I can see everybody else around me. But yes, we’re absolutely interested in that space because the Toy Box itself is kind of a very interesting concept of ‘I’m in the world I built.’

Disney Infinity is a kind of toy to life style platform. There are many reasons VR doesn’t fit for that beside social isolation. I think the VR is like biggest rollercoaster in the amusement parks, to many children, the thrill doesn’t worth the discomfort.

For HoloLens, that’s wonderful news. Disney is no question another high profile endorsement.




HoloLens: Field of View (FOV) Collections

Developer’s Collection – Develop for Windows 10 Insider Preview



What Is the FOV of My TV?



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.


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,  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



Develop for Hololens? C# and Unity Is All You Need



OK, I said C++ and DirectX, but for game development, C# and Unity might be a better choice.

I have posted Why Is There No HoloLens SDK? two days ago. For developers who are interested in developing for HoloLens, there are many, the answer is still not clear. So, what should I do, go write any UWP application, it will working on HoloLens? Of course not.

You write a universal app, it will run on HoloLens, there is no problem with that, but that’s not what HoloLens’ main attraction. We develop apps for HoloLens, we mean to develop apps that is tailed for HoloLens. We want it to appear 3D, we want it to run in “Reality Mode”.

Developing 3D apps or games is not new to HoloLens. You can go crazy with DirectX 12 and C++. When it runs on a PC or phone, it shows 3D on a 2D monitor, when runs on a HoloLens, it shows 3D mixed reality holograms. However, for two important reasons you don’t want to deal with DirectX directly: 1. Programming DirectX is not an easy task. 2. Lack of ready made libraries, so you have to do many things from scratch. It’s like programing directly on Win32 APIs instead of MFC. MFC has been a massive success because it makes a lot of things easier. Unfortunately, Microsoft decide not to do a MFC equivalent for DirectX. Also .NET doesn’t work directly with DirectX. There are third party packages bridging .NET and DirectX but I am not sure if they are up to task yet. Reading Microsoft’s message, it appears Unity will be a major choice for DirectX programming. That’s why Unity was featured during HoloLens developer demo.

You only need to two things to be a HoloLens developer: C# and Unity. C# is pretty easy, with great intellisense in Visual Studio. Unity is not the only choice, but for the moment it is the only one you can count on.

Make sure to register for the C# and Unity online course from Microsoft Virtual Academy from the following link (it’s tomorrow):

Develop for Hololens? Register for Online Course: “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5″

Watch Alex Kipman @ Falcon 9 Rocket Pre-Launch Briefing


NASA posted a video of Falcon 9 rocket pre-launch science and technology briefing yesterday. As part of the briefing, Alex Kipman, along with Jeff Norris of NASA JBL, presented and answered questions about HoloLens and project SideKick. Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch tomorrow 10:21 am ET. Here is the footage of the event (starting at 42:10).





HoloLens Goes to the Space: NASA TV Live Coverage Sunday



This Sunday, June 28, 2015, @ 10:21 am ET SpaceX/Dragon launches to the International Space Station on its seventh commercial resupply mission. NASA TV will cover this event live. Well, the relevance is a pair of HoloLens will be on board as part of NASA and Microsoft joint project called SideKick. The TV coverage actually starts from 9 am ET (all channels).  There is a chance they will talk about HoloLens. In any case, it’s a great event to watch. To know that HoloLens is part of it, makes it more exciting.

You can follow the above link to watch on NASA TV website.







Develop for Hololens? Register for Online Course: “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5″




Update: Sorry guys, I made a mistake: Starting time is 12am EDT.
Important for HoloLens developers, or who are interested, Microsoft Virtual Academy has an exciting online course, called “Building Windows 10 Games with Unity 5“. It is important because, my understanding, if you want to develop HoloLens games (apps too), that’s the way to go. Of course, the target audience is any Windows 10 game developers, but it’s particularly important for HoloLens.

(Update: the following line should be PDT, EDT instead of PST, EST.)

It’s June 30, 2015 9am‒5pm PST, 11am-8pm EST (that’s next Tuesday), not good for those of us in eastern time zone, but I will post the recording afterwards (usually takes a week or two).

You need register to get in. Please go here to register now.

I just copy the course outline, not that I know what it means.

Course Outline:

  • Overview and Prototyping the Game
  • Utilizing Unity 5 Features
  • Coding and AI
  • Everything I Wish They Told Me About Cameras
  • Designing a Great UI
  • Building for Windows 10

You don’t need to have prior Unity experience or knowledge, but required C# background. However, I think you need to understand how game programming works at least.

This paragraph give you a better idea:

Take a quick tour of the architecture, see how to get the controls up and running, and explore audio mixing, along with lighting and illumination features. Learn how to create a great-looking 3D game with powerful features: write a game design document, prototype it out in Unity, and write the C# code (including AI). Plus, discover camera modes and effects, as you learn to build for the Windows 10 UWP. Don’t miss this fun-filled 3D day!


Sidekick: Another Project Involving HoloLens with NASA

PHOTO DATE: 05-06-15 LOCATION: Ellington Field - NASA C-9 Aircraft SUBJECT: Reduced Gravity Office's JPL research flights. Flight 3 PHOTOGRAPHER(S): BILL STAFFORD

PHOTO DATE: 05-06-15
LOCATION: Ellington Field – NASA C-9 Aircraft
SUBJECT: Reduced Gravity Office’s JPL research flights. Flight 3


This news is bigger than you think, that’s why I rush to post it.

NASA and Microsoft are on another project beside OnSight, called SideKick. See how HoloLens helps astronauts through SideKick project:

Sidekick has two modes of operation. The first is “Remote Expert Mode,” which uses Skype, part of Microsoft, to allow a ground operator to see what a crew member sees, provide real-time guidance, and draw annotations into the crew member’s environment to coach him or her through a task. Until now, crew members have relied on written and voice instructions when performing complex repair tasks or experiments.

The second mode is “Procedure Mode,” which augments standalone procedures with animated holographic illustrations displayed on top of the objects with which the crew is interacting. This capability could lessen the amount of training that future crews will require and could be an invaluable resource for missions deep into our solar system, where communication delays complicate difficult operations.

Brilliant. Now here is the news:

A pair of the devices is scheduled to launch on SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply mission to the station on June 28.

A second set of devices to be delivered on a future mission will test and verify Sidekick functionality with network connectivity to test the Remote Expert Mode.

Sidekick also will be used and evaluated during the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 20 expedition set to begin July 21 when a group of astronauts and engineers live in the world’s only undersea research station, Aquarius, for two weeks. The Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analog for space exploration.

Those are test missions for SideKick, and,

NASA expects astronauts on the station will first use Sidekick by the end of the year.

This one sounds like a real thing. Can we expect HoloLens to be released by the end of the year? That’s why I am writing this post.

By the way, they are okey with the FOV?

Oh, NASA also posted a video.



Cambridgeshire Constabulary Is Soon to Begin Using Microsoft’s HoloLens


This news is interesting in many levels.

News comes from Computing that UK’s Cambridgeshire police will SOON start using HoloLens. You heard it right, the title is direct copy from the post. The implementation is in collaboration with a consultancy firm Black Marble, which is likely a Microsoft value added distributor or partner.

A Microsoft spokesperson later told Computing that, while it’s unlikely that members of the Cambridgeshire force will go out on the beat wearing the slightly cumbersome devices in the near future, the technology could well be used in the recreation of crime scenes.

I don’t know how, but sounds like an interesting idea, and a big deal for police forces, but I think HoloLens can do more than recreating crime scenes.  It’s good to know that police decide to use it before it is even released.

The word “soon” is interesting. I would assume, next year is not soon, right?

Interestingly, the same constabulary is also currently using Microsoft Band. This is how they use it:

Finally, wearable device Microsoft Band is also now being utilised in a unique way, in a trial period in Cambridgeshire. If the user’s heart rate goes over a certain level, or if it is removed from an officer’s wrist, it triggers an alarm and officers will scramble to support their colleague.







Why Is There No HoloLens SDK?



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++):


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


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,


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


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