The next generation of Microsoft's HoloLens Mixed Reality headset is set to launch next month, according to reports. The company's head of artificial intelligence and research, Harry Shum, revealed the news at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday.
The device is expected to be priced at around $3,500 and Microsoft has already started taking preorders. The company revealed a developer edition of the device earlier this year. The new device is expected to have many new features including an improved field of view, a new ARM processor, a new Azure Kinect sensor, eye-tracking sensors, and a different display system.
The company has also improved the onboard gesture recognition system. The device is expected to be more comfortable than the previous device, and it will not get as hot. It will be lighter too, since the new device is made of carbon fiber.
Microsoft states that switching from the original HoloLens to HoloLens 2 will be like switching between 720p video and 2K videos. The display used by Microsoft is a 2K MEMS display – it will be so transparent that a user will be able to see augmented reality overlay on real-world objects.
Another significant addition is the hand tracking technology, which will track the user's hand movement to provide a more accurate and engaging gaming experience.
Further, unlike other Augmented Reality devices, HoloLens 2 can be used in a collaborative office environment. Firms such as Pearson believe that it can be used to train medical personnel.
Microsoft is still developing its "holographic computing technology."
Microsoft also showcased the HoloLens 2 at its booth at the Mobile World Congress 2019.
While the $3,500 price is a high price to pay, Microsoft is offering easy installments starting at $125 a month, along with $500 worth of Azure cloud service credits. The company will offer the Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ plugin for free. However, with cheaper headsets such as Sony's PlayStation VR available in the market, it remains to be seen how Microsoft woos its consumer.