February 29, 2016 6:00 am

Announcing Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition open for pre-order, shipping March 30

By / Technical Fellow, Windows and Devices Group

Just over one year ago, we introduced Microsoft HoloLens to the world. It was exciting to see the response to our unveil of the first and only fully untethered holographic computer. We’ve spent the past year focused on connecting with developers and commercial customers to imagine our holographic future together.

Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition

And we’ve made a lot of progress. Thousands of developers have experienced HoloLens first hand and have contributed ideas to the ecosystem through programs like “Share Your Idea”. Our developer roadshows were fully booked across all eleven cities within the first 90 minutes of being made available. The enthusiasm we are seeing is exciting! We have introduced new partners like Volvo Cars, Autodesk Fusion 360 and have continued to make progress in our partnerships with Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, Trimble, and NASA. I am happy to report NASA is mission operational with the Mars OnSight project we announced jointly on January 21st of last year, using HoloLens to help explore the surface of Mars. HoloLens is also very proudly in-use by astronauts in space after NASA successfully delivered HoloLens to the International Space Station to aid in its Project Sidekick work.

I’m thrilled to announce that starting today, developer applicants will start receiving invitations to purchase the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition – which will begin shipping on March 30th. Today represents a monumental step forward. This is the first step in our journey to consumers. A step focused on our commercial partnerships and on supporting developers, who will help pave the way to consumer availability with amazing and new holographic experiences.

The future of technology will not be confined to just two dimensions – our future interaction with technology will more closely mirror our real world. Technology coexisting in our real, three-dimensional world, beyond screens and pixels. We believe that the future is holographic, and as a result, we will continue to empower the developers who will help bring that future to life. The investments that developers have made in our Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps will carry forward. With Windows, holograms are Universal Windows apps and all Universal Windows apps can be made to work on Windows holographic. Similarly, holographic apps in the Windows Store can be monetized in the same way that all other UWP apps are today.

HoloLens is an amazing Windows 10 device, and the APIs responsible for holographic computing are already available in Windows 10. Starting today, developers will have access to documentation, and to the developer community, that will help them create amazing experiences. Developers should go to dev.windows.com/holographic for guides and detailed tutorials. Additional development tools that include Visual Studio projects and a HoloLens emulator will be released when HoloLens devices start shipping to customers on March 30. The emulator will allow developers to test holographic apps on their PC without a physical HoloLens and comes with a HoloLens development toolset – to help developers who haven’t yet received their devices get started right away.

The Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition

HoloLens is fully untethered and self-contained. It’s the only device that enables holographic computing natively with no markers, no external cameras, no wires, no phone required, and no connection to a PC needed. And it’s a Windows 10 device – the interface is familiar, and connected by the power of a unified ecosystem of Windows devices.

The device consists of multiple environment understanding sensors and it’s powered by a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) and an Intel 32-bit architecture. The HPU is custom silicon that allows HoloLens to understand gestures and gaze while mapping the world all around you, all in real time.

HoloLens has see-through holographic lenses that use an advanced optical projection system to generate multi-dimensional full-color holograms with very low latency so you can see holographic objects in your world. The key to a great holographic experience is holograms that are light point rich, i.e., they have a high holographic density and are pinned, or anchored, to the world around you. To achieve this, HoloLens has been designed for optimal holographic density of 2.5K radiants. The more radiants and light points there are, the brighter and richer the holograms become.

HoloLens contains advanced sensors to capture information about what you’re doing and the environment you’re in. The built-in cameras also enable you to record mixed reality captures (MRC) — HD pictures and video of the holograms in the world around you that you can share with others even when they don’t have a HoloLens.

With HoloLens you can create and shape holograms with gestures, communicate with apps using your voice, and navigate with a glance. HoloLens understands your gestures, gaze, and voice, enabling you to interact in the most natural way possible. With spatial sound, HoloLens allows you to hear holograms from anywhere in the room, even if they are behind you.

The device also supports Bluetooth 4.1 – helping enable accessories like the clicker that ships with your HoloLens device.

Developers who purchase HoloLens will have immediate access to hundreds of UWP apps through the Windows Store – great and familiar apps like OneDrive, Maps, Remote Desktop, People, Movies & TV, Groove Music and Microsoft Office apps. The Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition also gives developers access to a showcase of holographic app experiences to help get them started. These experiences are designed to demonstrate what the device can do, and how it operates, in order to inspire developers to create incredible things. Check out Kudo Tsunoda’s blog post on experiences to learn more.

Want to start creating? If you haven’t already done so, visit www.hololens.com/developmentedition to apply now for the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition. Devices start shipping in the US and Canada on March 30th at a price of $3,000.

I’m really excited to start this journey with you. This platform was created for you, the dreamers, the creators, the Windows developers. As we start this journey into the holographic landscape don’t ever hesitate to reach out with questions you want answered. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @akipman.  The next few months are going to be a journey to remember and I look forward to sharing it with you!

Alex Kipman

Updated March 1, 2016 7:19 am