HoloLens 2 May Double Its Field-of-View and Add On-Board AI Processing Features
Andrew Wheeler posted on July 02, 2018 |

Microsoft HoloLens was launched with great fanfare in 2015, inspiring hardware giants and nimble startups to follow suit, creating devices like the Meta 2 AR headset, DAQRI Smart Helmet, and the whole Mixed Reality headset suite from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, ASUS and Samsung.

Microsoft has delayed the second iteration because HoloLens doesn’t really have any serious competition right now, and it isn’t overwhelmingly popular for either consumer or enterprise markets. Though developers are hard at work, applications with engineering features are few and far between.

The next iteration of Microsoft HoloLens includes a custom AI chip and Project Kinect image sensor bundle. (Image courtesy of Microsoft.)
The next iteration of Microsoft HoloLens includes a custom AI chip and Project Kinect image sensor bundle. (Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

Perhaps the biggest issue users pointed out about the first HoloLens is the limited Field-of-View.

A newly published patent from Microsoft addresses this concern, describing a “MEMS laser scanner having enlarged FoV”. MEMS is an acronym for Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems, and MEMS techniques are useful to electronics engineers because they allow for mechanical devices and electronic circuits to be manufactured on a silicon chip, just like integrated circuits. The MEMS laser scanner is the patent is for near-eye lenses and could use differently polarized light to expand the Field-of-View while avoiding “increasing the range over which the mirror of the scanner oscillates.

A user with the twitter handle WalkingCat was the first to notice the newly published patent, which anyone can view and read free of charge. Many users have found common ground criticizing the HoloLens for its 35-degree FoV, which is certainly small by virtual reality standards, and the Meta 2, perhaps the only significant rival to HoloLens, sports a 90-degree FoV.

The patent filing shows that the MEMS laser scanner could increase the FoV of the HoloLens to 70 degrees. The expanded FoV would help the user experience feel more immersive, increasing its appeal to both the consumer and enterprise sectors.

Bottom Line

The next iteration of the Microsoft HoloLens is likely going to switch to an ARM platform, which has a few advantages, including a higher quality LTE connection and enabling engineers to create instant-on capabilities.

This illustration shows how instant-on devices become fully operational before the system voltage has reached its minimum level, known as the power-up stage. This is particularly useful for conserving energy in electronics devices that rely on battery packs like the HoloLens. A programmable logic device (PLD) is the term for an electronic component used to make reconfigurable digital circuits. A PLD differs from a logic gate because a PLD has an undefined function at the time of manufacturing, and a logic gate has a fixed function. (Image courtesy of Microsemi.)
This illustration shows how instant-on devices become fully operational before the system voltage has reached its minimum level, known as the power-up stage. This is particularly useful for conserving energy in electronics devices that rely on battery packs like the HoloLens. A programmable logic device (PLD) is the term for an electronic component used to make reconfigurable digital circuits. A PLD differs from a logic gate because a PLD has an undefined function at the time of manufacturing, and a logic gate has a fixed function. (Image courtesy of Microsemi.)

There are rumors floating around that HoloLens may include include Qualcomm's new XR1 VR and AI platform, allowing engineers to design a new set of on-board AI processing features. The next HoloLens will likely be revealed at CES 2019.


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