Microsoft is on course to start shipping its much-awaited $3,000 HoloLens, the augmented reality (AR) headset that can potentially transform the manner in which one interacts with their PC.

However, not all has been smooth sailing for the Redmond-based company as the online developer documentation reveals several interesting details pertaining to the AR headset, especially its limitations.

Now, the enterprising folks at PCWorld delved deeper into the documents to investigate the fascinating details pertaining to the technology deployed for the HoloLens.

Low Resolution

The developer documents reveal that the HoloLens optics have a pair of 16:9 light engines, but the resolution has not been specified by Microsoft. The company simply says that the maximum supported and default resolution of the HoloLens is 1,268 x 720p. The lowest supported resolution stands at just 360p. Interestingly, the developer document also reveals the company's assertion that developers maintain a minimum 60 fps during the coding of an app for HoloLens. If the AR headset is capturing video, then the frame can drop to a much lower 30 fps.

In comparison, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift offer a resolution of 2,160 x 1,020, as well as a refresh rate of 90 Hz. - both of which are higher than the HoloLens.

Automatic App Killing

Even though the AR has a 32-bit apps processor, this is passively cooled. This basically means that if the internal temperature of the SoC increases, the only option to cool the processor is by shutting down the apps that are the culprit.

HoloLens' "essential performance targets" decree that it spends less than a minute in the red and orange danger zones, where maximum heat is generated. If excess heat is generated then the HoloLens automatically safeguards itself by killing the responsible apps.

"If HoloLens exceeds its thermal capabilities, the foreground application will be shut down to allow the device to cool off," says the documentation.

Holographic Density

Microsoft wants users to not focus on the pixels but on the "holographic density" or the brightness and beauty of a hologram when assessing the Windows Holographic experience.

According to the company, the HoloLens has a holographic density of 2.5K radiants and the holographic resolution is 2.3 million light points.

Holograms Distance Limitation

The holograms will be appearing only at a certain distance on the HoloLens and begin to fade at others.

Why? The HoloLens has a limited field of view, which means the displays are fixed at an optical distance of 2 meters (6.56 feet). Once the user moves closer, the holograms begin to fade at about 1 meter (3.28 feet) and disappear completely when one nears 0.85 meters (2.79 feet).

If a hologram is moved too close or too far to the user then the eyes will have too much strain on them trying to focus effectively. In such a scenario discomfort also sets in.

"Putting content at 2.0m is also advantageous because the two displays are designed to fully overlap at this distance," explains Microsoft. "For images placed off this plane, as they move off the side of holographic frame they will disappear from one display while still being visible on the other."

Memory Limitations

Since the HoloLens is a standalone device, the storage and memory available to a user could be concerning. Therefore, developers will have to work around the limitations when creating apps and games for the AR device.

Even though the allocated space for HoloLens games and apps is 900 megabytes, this may fall short when one takes into consideration the HoloLens demos that showed off weather apps side-by-side with Skype, calendars and videos. Therefore, developers need to work within the constraints.

The documentation also disclosed that holograms may be recorded, but only for a brief period due to limitations. Users, however, will be able to control the HoloLens remotely, which is something to cheer about.

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