Interest in Microsoft's Hololens headset seems to be taking off. In many ways this headset sets itself apart from the likes of Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and others as it is intended for Augmented Reality (AR) applications rather than Virtual Reality (VR) ones. Microsoft's demonstrations have perhaps been the most interesting for computer application users while VR lends itself more to gaming and simulations.
NASA and Microsoft have teamed up for a project called Sidekick. This project aims to help astronauts with various tasks on the International Space Station. There are two ways in which the Hololens headset can help get a task done quickly, correctly and efficiently:
- Remote Expert Mode uses the Skype application built into Hololens. It allows a remote expert to see exactly what the astronaut is doing (and seeing) via the Hololens cameras and guide them through the process. The expert can even ink notes and diagrams on the display as a guide of what to do now and next.
- Procedure Mode uses holographic overlaid illustrations which animate above objects needing manipulation in real-time. It is thought that this could help cut down operator delays due to poor communications and reduce astronaut training time.
You can see Project Sidekick in testing aboard the NASA Weightless Wonder C9 Jet in the video above.
Police in Cambridgeshire are set to use Hololens headsets to harness this emerging technology in the fight against crime, reports Computing. The AR headsets will be delivered to the force as soon as possible with "amazing things," touted as being possible thanks to the device.
A Microsoft representative thought it unlikely that Hololens equipped constables will be pacing the streets of Cambridge any time soon. Instead it thought that the headsets might be employed to recreate crime scenes.
The bustling Cambridgeshire Police HQ
In a further interesting nugget of information, regarding new Microsoft devices in police use, Computing reports that the Microsoft Band is already in use in trials in Cambridgeshire. Police HQ use the devices to monitor police officer heart rates or whether the device has been removed from the wrist. In either of those cases an alarm is triggered and more police are sent to help.