Technology buffs who are curious about when they will be able to wear HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality glasses, the answer is later. Much later.
At Salesforce's customer conference dubbed Dreamforce, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about the use of HoloLens and said the full development of the gadget is "really a five-year journey." The good news, backed by Nadella, is that developers will get a prototype model as early as 2016.
HoloLens allows users to superimpose computer-generated elements on top of existing, real-world objects.
Minecraft enthusiasts can therefore set up a whole pixelated universe in their own living room, or photography geeks can use it to overlay vintage frames with existing urban landscapes. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the wearer.
Excitement was high among developers when Microsoft said that HoloLens functions with Windows 10, as that seemed to signal a possibly immediate release of the augmented reality goggles. Further development is required for the gadget to work flawlessly, and the commitment to guarantee quality experiences starts with the CEO.
"I put it on and roam around my house and have these conversations," Nadella, who wears the glasses with regularity in his own home, declared.
Microsoft focuses on perfecting HoloLens because it understands the full potential of such a device, especially in the business world. The demo showed different ways in which the goggles can help businesses. It is easy to see how an architect or city planner would find it useful to design better, how a doctor could study anomalies in the patient's tissue or how aircraft technicians could study the integrity of a Boeing in half the time it takes now.
"It's such a different type of computer, and the industrial and enterprise scenarios are huge," Nadella said.
Microsoft demonstrated how HoloLens functions and what some of its features are in April, but as promising as the prototype is, more work is required to perfect it. A couple of voice commands were unintelligible to the apparatus and a couple of glitches were also discernible.
The first edition of the HoloLens might be targeted toward professionals and not the general consumer. This means a consistent price will come with the advanced technology, but if the mistakes of former similar devices have taught Microsoft anything, it is that one must not rush perfection.