HoloLens demo impressions (VRLA 2017)

There were plenty of demos to be checked out at VRLA 2017, but I was personally most excited about HoloLens. Microsoft’s AR headset is hard to find, even at events like this one. Especially considering its intimidating $3,000 price point. Regardless, it is hard to ignore those fancy demo videos from Microsoft, so we had to get in that long line to check the device out.

It was Easter weekend, so the team had us hunting for eggs in an empty foam garden. It was not really empty for those wearing the headset, though. There were butterflies, rabbits, blooming flowers and more all around the area. Of course, there were also 5 eggs we needed to find during the course of 4 minutes.

Everything was interactive. Staring at flowers made them bloom, and taking a long look at the eggs revealed items within them. This was certainly a short demo; brief enough that we could take our sweet time with the egg hunt. But was it worth all the hype? Hardly.

Graphics were pretty bad and the visual field was incredibly small. It was a tiny square in the middle. This made me realize Microsoft definitely over-exaggerated what this thing could do, but HoloLens is not to be discarded just yet.

Latency was nearly unnoticeable and I was impressed by how good the device was at tracking its surroundings. All the digital elements were solidly placed where they belonged at all times, and I found no glitches.

It is a product that works very well, but it is still in its development. That is exactly why it’s called a “development unit”. This expensive gadget is not for consumers. It is for developers who want to get working on projects that will probably end up in the consumer version.

Hopefully that iteration does fulfill our expectations of virtual assistants walking around the home, placing digital decoration around the house and putting screens wherever you want. Until then, I will continue to say this thing is not as impressive as it seemed.


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