The company has demonstrated a variety of possible uses at work in a wide range of industries. A demonstration saw a creative team for a toy company that collaborates in real time in a virtual conference room. Other demonstrations have shown automotive production, repair of industrial equipment and medical procedures all of which have been helped by augmented reality technology.
Users who wear a HoloLens headset see the world around them, but with superimposed virtual graphics. Images often integrate with real surfaces and objects – imagine that a virtual cup of coffee appears on a real table.
Microsoft said the new device will be more comfortable than the previous version, which was released in 2016. The second-generation device also has a much higher resolution and a wider field of view. Eye-tracking and other sensors, together with AI additions, make it easier to manipulate virtual objects. It is also adding more integration in the cloud. The devices are available for pre-order and will be shipped by the end of the year.
When Microsoft presented for the first time a rough version of its augmented reality technology in 2015 – which the company insists on calling "mixed reality" – it was really mind blowing.
But augmented reality technology has not really taken off with consumer applications.
It is available on most high-end smartphones and can help people test mobile and lipstick or play simple games like Pokemon Go.
For HoloLens 2, Microsoft said it would collaborate with several large companies, including Saab, Airbus and Honeywell. It is intended for business applications.
"Microsoft's new HoloLens device will bring the mixed enterprise market to its next level of adoption. The device itself solves many problems associated with the first model, from a greatly expanded field of view to better hand gestures. # 39; integration with Azure and Dynamics that will allow developers to create powerful mixed-reality experiences more quickly and economically, "said JP Gownder, Forrester's chief vice-president and principal analyst.
The announcement of HoloLens 2 shows that Microsoft is engaged in its version of technology and believes that technology can take off with headphones that keep people's hands free.
It's going to be in the factories, not in the living rooms.