Microsoft hopes that the admission of six European partners to its ‘HoloLens Readiness Partner Program’ will encourage more customers to commit to the company’s ‘mixed reality’ vision.
The self-proclaimed “world’s first holographic computer was released in the US and Canada last March before arriving in a number of European countries including the UK.
Microsoft uses the term ‘mixed reality’ to differentiate HoloLens from VR devices by claiming the combination of the virtual and real will allow for new applications in industry, entertainment and education.
Black Marble, Fundamental VR and Rewind, all from the UK, join France’s Holoforge and Immersion, and Germany’s Zuhlke in the program, which sees selected partners given hands-on training to help other organisations deploy HoloLens and build applications for it.
Clients of the six European firms admitted include the Red Bull Air Race, UK Police Force and Alstom.
“Over the last several months, we began shipping HoloLens to more developers and commercial customers around the globe, including those in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Japan,” said Microsfot’s Lorraine Bardeen.
“Customers in these regions need partners they can trust to create the future of mixed reality experiences.
“As more companies understand the benefits and deploy HoloLens and mixed reality, they are looking for a broad set of choices to help build and deploy mixed reality applications.”
The HoloLens was first introduced In January 2015 and Microsoft has been keen to stress the self-contained nature of the device, which is powered by Windows 10 and an Intel 32-bit processor working alongside a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that allows the device to understand gestures and gaze while mapping the world around the user, all in real time.
The display consists of see-through holographic lenses which use an advanced optical projection system to generate multi-dimensional full-colour holograms, which become richer and bigger the more light sources and radiants are detected.
Early commercial customers include Audi, thyssenkrupp, Airbus and NASA, the latter of which is using it to design spacecraft and rovers.
But if you want to get your hands on one, be prepared to shell out. A development edition of the device costs £2,719 and a commercial edition is an eye-watering £4,529.
Reports suggest Microsoft is ready to skip development of a second generation unit in favour of devoting all resources to a third generation device due to be released in 2019.
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