Microsoft has unveiled the new version of its mixed reality headset, the HoloLens 2. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 price will be $3,500 and features several updates to the headset’s technical specifications and design. The changes which stand out are the new eye-tracking feature as well as the field-of-view being doubled.
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 was announced at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, where it was demonstrated by Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman. The event revealed that the headset featured a new time-of-flight depth sensor. The sensor allows users to interact with augmented reality objects in a way similar to how you would be able to interact with similar objects in the real world. Along with the expansion of the headset’s field-of-view, new eye-tracking sensors not only improve the performance of object interaction but also allow for the use of iris recognition as a log-in method.
The look of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 has changed too. The headset can now be adjusted to suit the users head size while it is being worn, similar to the PSVR. HoloLens 2 is friendly to glasses wearers, leaving room for frames between the user’s face and the headset. A new visor enables the user to quickly flip it up out of eye line if they need to complete tasks out of mixed reality.
While it is not currently clear how developers will utilize the HoloLens 2’s new technology, Epic Games has announced the new device will support Unreal Engine 4 from May 2019. The mixed reality headset itself is currently slated to be released later this year.
Microsoft’s relationship with reality-distorting technology has been an interesting one. Sony launched its consumer PSVR almost three years ago while Microsoft has shown little interest in competing with its rival. With this new version of HoloLens and the next-generation of consoles on the horizon, we will see if Microsoft chooses to incorporate mixed reality more into its games offering going forward.