old cell phoneEver since computers were first born, technology has, and was expected to do nothing else but, expand. Depending on your age you can remember when computers became desktops, then laptops, when the internet was a completely foreign concept until we were forced to learn how to use it through the squeals of a phone until finally reaching the digital wifi we enjoy today, and even when cell phones went from a shoulder bag to a brick sized hand held device that just keeps getting smaller, thinner and more like a computer. Even movies follow the trend and go from tape to digital and now 3D and virtual reality, but of course media is just where scientists have made new technology readily available to the public. The newest technology from virtual reality is being used as one of the most technological methods to perform some of the most extraordinary tasks such as designing and global meetings.

What is the newest technology, even more than virtual reality?

In short, interactive holograms! Holograms are images that appear in mid-air either by a projection or using a device to manipulate your vision. Microsoft has designed a headset, which looks similar to a large plastic headband with glasses, that uses its own computer system to transmit a 3D signal and allow you to interact with the 3D images in mid-air using a virtual reality style of manipulation at the same time because it can detect what you are doing as well as the area around you.

This is not the first attempt:

  • holographic mapGoogle Glass made something similar but the screen was in the top corner of the glasses and was manipulated from the computer only.
  • Oculus Rift was a virtual reality helmet that completely submerged you in the project you were working on. It allowed you to work directly with your project but everything you need better be in that space or you couldn’t see it.

Microsoft’s HoloLens looks like it has glasses because it too completely immerses you in your project but the glasses let you see the area around you and take those objects into account. That’s right, with the HoloLens you could be Tony Stark from “Iron Man” in his workshop creating a design out of thin air or attending a meeting as a digital projection of yourself, seeing digital projections of the others in the meeting, anywhere in the world.

How does the HoloLens work for designers?

floating boxDesigners are artists that try to bring the idea they have in their minds into reality. That single sentence makes it sound so easy but with the ideas of today, it is anything but. This technology could build a virtual prototype or work off of a current prototype, allow the creators to walk around it, interact with it, and find flaws or make improvements before the prototype revealed them after it had already been built, preventing the waste of resources, time and money.

Remember the flying cars we talked about in the blog: Cars are taking to the skies part 1. In theory, the two companies that had not yet created a prototype could use this system and produce a prototype that would be a perfect working design without any “bugs”.

How does the HoloLens work for interactive business people?

meeting roomWe’ve all seen the commercials where meetings are being held anywhere in the world with a TV and a phone that can attach to a computer, but a HoloLens would make it appear as though each person wearing the device were in the same room. In this room, they could interact with each other on that personal level we keep trying to achieve using all of our previous methods including Skype and Facetime. If representatives from NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martian were all collaborating on a model or a project, they could see it from all sides, and if it were in the system, they could make alterations to it, making decisions infinitely faster, instantaneously attempt design creativity and alterations, ultimately creating a whole new level of synergy. NASA is already using a model called the OnSight to be able to have meetings on Mars! Various experts in their fields examine and get a real understanding of the issues they are “faced with” on Mars with either the rovers or the hurdles the rovers are trying to overcome, then they collaborate on how to solve the problem in real time, standing in the area they are working with. It won’t be long before a HoloLens will be as common as a tablet, but how long did it take before those became readily available. Everything moves so fast, does anyone remember?