Microsoft HoloLens 2 works with lasers for wider field of view and costs $3500

Microsoft has announced the HoloLens 2. The headset has a Snapdragon 850-soc and uses lasers and mirrors to form an image. As a result, the field of view is much larger than with the first version of the HoloLens.

The limited field of view of the first HoloLens was seen as a major drawback, and Microsoft is addressing that in the new version by using a different technology to display the images. The HoloLens 2 works with lasers that shine light into two oscillating mirrors. Those mirrors move so fast that they can paint the image on the screen, as it were. The images are projected onto the waveguides, which are the pieces of glass in front of the headset wearer’s eyes.

The HoloLens 2 would have a field of view twice that of the first version. According to a hands-on from The Verge, the image does not yet occupy the entire field of view of your eyes, but it is now so large that it is no longer disturbingly small. Microsoft speaks of a 2k resolution per eye and lasers could project images with a brightness of 500 nits.

Microsoft uses a new Azure Kinect sensor for depth measurement. That is a camera on the front of the headset, which recognizes objects and makes a scan of them. For example, the user’s hands are continuously monitored and the HoloLens 2 recognizes gestures such as grabbing something or pressing a button. That way, users can interact with virtual elements. The headset also has built-in eye tracking and speech recognition.

All hardware is located in the rear part of the headset. That should make wearing the headset comfortable due to the distribution of the weight. On the back is a dial to secure the headset and once users have it on, they can flip the visor up when not in use.

Microsoft equips the HoloLens 2 with a Snapdragon 850-soc, combined with a custom holographic processing unit of the second generation. The whole is passively cooled and the battery would be good for two to three hours of use. Charging is done via a USB-C connection.

The HoloLens 2 is intended for companies and can be used, for example, by designers and engineers. Microsoft is not targeting consumers with the headset. The headset will be released later this year for $3500. A euro price has not yet been announced. The headset will not initially come to the Benelux, but will be available in a number of other European countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom.