It may not always seem like it, but we are totally living in the future. Sure, there are less killer robots than our favorite Sci-Fi movies may have predicted, but there is no doubt that we have access to things H. G. Wells couldn’t have thought up in his wildest dreams.
Take Microsoft’s HoloLens for example. At first glance, the goofy headset may seem like Google Glass 2.0, but give it a chance, and you might just understand how it is going to change the way we interact with the world around us. If you can afford its current $3000 price tag, that is.
Look, I don’t want to bash VR headsets; I love VR and the immersion VR systems can provide. However, there is a pretty obvious issue with current VR technology; it essentially renders you blind to the real world around you. Not so bad if you are using it to play games, but not great when it comes to almost any other application. Working in an office environment, learning in a classroom, and even designing or prototyping new technology all works better when you can see what is going on around you.
This is exactly why the HoloLens is useful. You heard me, useful. When it comes to gaming, the HoloLens is totally outclassed by Virtual Reality tech like the Oculus and HTC Vive. However, gaming is not where the HoloLens truly thrives. Microsoft’s Augmented Reality technology is not meant to immerse you in a vibrant fantasy world, it is designed specifically to make the things you do every day easier, quicker, and more intuitive. The HoloLens is not about escaping reality, it is about enhancing it.
Alright, I realize that might have come off as a little sales-pitchy, but allow me to back up my claims. Over the last couple of decades, we have seen technology progress so rapidly that it is truly difficult to keep up. For us consumers, the majority of that progression has taken the shape of accessibility. What I mean by that is this; it used to be that when you wanted to know some tidbit of information, you had to look it up in a book. This usually meant a trip to the Library. Then along came the internet, and now we could google whatever we wanted to know. But even that wasn’t efficient enough, so we developed apps like Siri, which can tell us whatever we want to know just by talking to them. See a pattern? Technology, at least for us average people, is all about convenience, it is about cutting down on the amount of steps it takes to execute a certain task. Microsoft’s HoloLens, or some other project very similar to it, is the next thing that will cut down those steps.
Here’s an example; using the HoloLens, making a skype call is literally as simple as looking at a wall and swiping your fingers. That may sound trivial, but think about it, we are turning ourselves into magicians. We are actually at the point where we can essentially snap our fingers and begin communication with someone who could be on another continent.
Sure, that might not sound absolutely groundbreaking to us modern consumers, but this is just the beginning. The HoloLens is a computer that you strap to your head, and control with your fingers. The applications are quite possibly limitless. From something as specialized as a surgeon have a live reading of his patient’s vitals in the corner of his eye, to something utilitarian as having a GPS route displayed on the road you are driving on, Augmented Reality will do it all. Technology has always been about enhancing the way we interact with the world around us, and AR is going to achieve that in a massive way. Maybe this isn’t what you had in mind when you were a kid, but make no mistake, the future is here.