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HoloLens: First 24 hours (the good and the bad)

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It has now been 24 hours since I got the HoloLens in my hand.

My developer version of the HoloLens ($3,200 with tax) was suppose to arrive on Monday but when I got home there was a tag on my front door indicating they tried to deliver it on Friday (darn!). I went online and told them to deliver it to my closest FedEx office, but after checking the website all day Saturday it appeared they were not going to try to deliver it to that location until Monday.

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On a whim I drove down to the FedEx warehouse and to my surprise I was able to pick it up Smile

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When I got it home I did the ‘unboxing’. Let me tell you right off, this ‘feels’ and ‘appears’ like a finished product. It still feels that way after 24 hours.

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There is not much in the box. Just the HoloLens, the power supply, a head strap and two sizes of nose guards. There is also a clicker that is a MUST. That hand gesture ‘air tap’ thing gets real old real fast. The kit also contains a very brief manual that you can read from cover to cover in less than a minute.

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I put the HoloLens on my wife’s head and took a picture. Mostly to let her see what we bought for $3k. At this point I hadn’t actually figured out how to turn it on. I didn’t even know where the power button was (it’s a small button at the back on the left-hand side).

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I wore it on my head (that is not a picture of me, that is a model) for hours at a time so I can get an idea of what is practical (while keeping in mind that next year’s model will probably be half the weight).

  • First the good:
    • This thing is totally silent and never felt hot
  • Now the negative:
    • This thing is heavy.
      • Not too heavy (1.2 pounds), but I had to remove the nose clip because my nose got tired of the weight. The weight now sits totally on my head. This does not feel like a 8 hour a day thing without some health issues. For example, half the people at the office I work at cannot use a mouse because of wrist issues, and this thing is sitting on your spine!
      • I can do 1-2 hours at a time perhaps 3 times a day with the device.
      • Using the head strap helps a lot to put the weight on the top of your head rather than only tightening the main band around your head tightly (because that can lead to a headache).
    • The battery only lasts about two and a half hours 
      • Not really a problem because my head can't take the weight much longer than that without a break but it does limit the activities it can do at this point.
      • You can use it while charging but that would only be suitable for deskwork and a HoloLens gives you neck strain when sitting at a desk because you have to look away from your monitor to see any HoloLens screens. Also trying to look down and type while wearing a HoloLens is something you do sparingly because it is difficult to see around the edges of the thing.

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I had finally played around with it enough that I decided I was ready to show it to my wife. I set her up with a game of RoboRaid.

I hooked up the Windows device portal so I could see what she sees, but found out that it has such a lag that it really isn’t that helpful for that purpose. What you can do is record a video that you can watch later.

She was able to zap at the wall and marveled about how realistic the hologram images were. After about 15 minutes she took it off her head and handed it back. Videos games other than Angry Birds or Bejeweled are not her thing.

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I tried out some of the other programs like Young Conker. It was interesting when I played the Young Conker game. I have a full length mirror. I didn't realize that Conker has no idea what a mirror is and basically thinks my room is twice the size.

He handled things pretty well but I did not map the area well enough. The indicator that shows up when you start the game (it wants you to look around the room so it can spatially map it) did indicate I missing spots, but I did not realize I should map what is seen in the mirror, so I became a bit frustrated and started the game anyway.

When the game played, Conker went bounding off from the real room into the ‘room in the mirror’ and then hit a dead spot in my incompletely scanned floor and I had to guide him out.

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I finally got around to deploying my HoloLens Hello World! sample app (that I created a full tutorial on – check it out!).

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What was really cool was to walk around it and look at it from the other side Smile

Conclusions

  • This is early tech but the device is polished and usable in real-world situations
  • The limited FOV (field of vision) is not a deal breaker. It is comparable to watching my 70” TV from my couch
  • The biggest thing they need to improve is the size and the weight of the device. I am certain Microsoft can do this in their stated 4-5 year time frame.




Comments are closed.
Showing 14 Comments
Avatar  Michael Washington 12 months ago

@Andrew - I don't see any drift. I have detected wall 10 feet away. As to the rest of that stuff I have a lot to learn before I can follow all that.

Avatar  David 12 months ago

@Michael awesome, thank you!

Avatar  Andrew 12 months ago

Hey Michael,
Is there any noticeable drift in the HoloLens? I am curious how accurate the spatial mapping is and if there is any way of providing detailed IMU specifications (e.g Angular Random Walk, etc). Perhaps after running some quick experiments. I am assuming the combination of the internal sensors and external cameras does relocalization pretty well.

When you manual map the room, how far can it detect a wall and are there any issues when there are large windows?

Avatar  Michael Washington 12 months ago

@ David - The build number of Windows Holographic on the device right now is 10.0.11082.1033

Avatar  David 12 months ago

Hi Michael, what is the build number of Windows Holographic on the device? Thanks in advance!

Avatar  Michael Washington 12 months ago

@Jorg - I agree it is workable but there are still physical repercussions. We just want to design applications that keep the safety and well being of the workers first. I rode a motorcycle for many years and I rode only for an hour at a time before taking a break. I feel this is much like that.

Avatar  Jorg 12 months ago

In many parts of the world people still spend hours every day carrying heavy loads on top of their heads. we should be able to work up to 1.2 lbs fairly quickly.

Avatar  Sean 12 months ago

70" TV is very accurate. This is the first time, outside of myself who gives it a proper description of the FOV. There are a whole bunch of journalists, no one have a clue how to say in a proper way.

Avatar  Michael Washington 12 months ago

@Jason Hunter - The closest that feels comfortable is 2-3 feet. That's when the FOV (Field of View does become an issue because the holograms only show up in a small percentage of what you can see, when you are looking at something farther away the hologram can be a LOT larger. 4-5 feet is where you can display say a web page easily. You can read the web page easily. I was even able to read and respond to Tweets (using the on screen keyboard that pops up like it does on a Xbox or a Surface Pro when you don't have a keyboard hooked up).

Keep in mind that this is like commenting on how good the sound quality is on a first generation TV set. A HoloLens can "see" the room you are in and enable applications that you simply cannot do otherwise. Its limitations are trivial.

Avatar  Jason Hunter 12 months ago

How close can the objects be to your face? Can you have a floating window 1-2 feet away from your eyes? How good is the text then? I've seen only objects far away from your eyes on these HoloLens videos. I can't imagine having a web page so far away and reading it clearly. If you load a webpage, like this one. Are you able to comfortably read the text, which means you would be able to trow away your monitor, basically. Can you tell us anything about this?

Avatar  Michael Washington 12 months ago

@Owen P - In my experience my hands are in front of the objects makes my hands appear partially transparent. I think this is because any 3D object that is close to you usually disappears. Any 3D object that is 2-3 feet away will occlude any object behind it, however it will not occlude any object in front of it.

This is where the spatial mapping is suppose to come into play. I should know that there is an object in front of the 3D object.

Avatar  Owen P. 12 months ago

Have a question on this. I've noticed a lot of the recorded videos seem to show the hands of the users behind the objects. That is, no occlusion. Can you verify if this is the case? Is there no occlusion by real world objects or your hands?

Avatar  qfeguy 12 months ago

Cool and impressive. This article should help a lot of people.

Don't worry about us, I'm sure we'll be fine :) (Private joke)

Avatar  [Pingback] 12 months ago

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