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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 21, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Microsoft unveils the HoloLens holographic computer

Perhaps your next computer will have an HPU – a holographic processing unit.

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Microsoft developed this new processor for the HoloLens holographic computer, a goggle-like system with a transparent lens that augments reality with holographic images visible to the wearer. It’s a bit like Google Glass and a bit like Oculus VR headgear and also something different.

Support for holographic applications will be built into Windows 10 which could help Microsoft attract developers who are just starting to build virtual-reality and augmented-reality apps for a handful of emerging hardware platforms.

The system was presented at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event by Alex Kipman, who previously developed the Kinect system for the Xbox. Kipman said the company has been secretly developing the system downstairs in the Microsoft visitor center, partly in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which plans to use the system in July to control the Mars rover.

Kipman also showed “Holo Studio,” a service for creating and sharing holographs.

During a demo, the system was used to create a virtual quadcopter. Kipman said it’s like “print preview” for 3D printing, then showed a quadcopter created with the system and output to a 3D printer:

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