Microsoft HoloLens is the company's most innovative piece of technology yet. The augmented reality headset was first shown to the world a few years ago, and now developers can have it for the cool price of $3,000.
The internal specification of HoloLens has always been a mystery until Microsoft came out and released it on the web. We practically know everything about HoloLens right now, but the company decided to keep something else secret, until now.
One of the interesting aspects of HoloLens is a processor that Microsoft calls the Holographic Processing Unit, or HPU for short. The HPU was designed to perform most of the processing work, leaving the CPU and GPU to launch apps among other things. This means HoloLens has two processors and a GPU, quite surprising for such a small product.
We understand the HPU is a custom design from Microsoft, opening the door for more custom chip designs from the company in the future.
When it comes down to the power of the HPU, Microsoft revealed a lot during the Hot Chips conference in California. Nick Baker, an engineer at the company, delivered a presentation that showcases what folks should expect from this interesting HPU.
According to a report from The Register, the HPU is a TSMC-fabricated 28 nm co-processor. It comes with 24 Tensilica DSP cores, and has about 65 million logic gates, along with 8 MB of SRAM.
This HPU processor also includes 1 GB of DDR3 RAM. Worry not, the RAM is low-powered so it shouldn't overheat. Bear in mind, this RAM is different from the main 1 GB RAM available inside the headset that is linked to the Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor.
It should be noted, the HPU can handle a trillion calculations per second, which is quite impressive.
Now, due to the low-power nature of the Microsoft-made HPU, it only draws 10 watts of power. We're hoping it will be good enough because HoloLens doesn't come off as a device that will have great battery life.
The HoloLens is the only augmented reality headset that appears to be ready to hit store shelves within the next three years. It's the only one being paraded by developers and regular folks who can afford to spend $3,000.
When it comes down to it, HoloLens could become the leader in augmented reality, but this can only happen if Microsoft plays its cards right. The company is known for dropping the ball, so this should be an interesting ride.