An improved Field of View on HoloLens Version 2
October 24, 2017
The Microsoft HoloLens is the untethered, holographic computer released by Microsoft in 2016. As an experimental, prototype device it is nevertheless powerful with several high-profile commercial use cases being used across a range of industries on the device.
As one of Europe's first adopters of HoloLens and Mixed Reality studios, we have been proud to be involved with many of these innovations involving data visualization, marketing and sales applications, brand experiences and more. As HoloLens experts, we have been able to develop and adapt our commercial applications to make use of HoloLens' strengths.
We have developed long-term partnerships with our clients such as Remy Martin and Segro and see the Mixed Reality industry grow from strength to strength. It is great to know then that Microsoft is working on a solution to improve the Field of View on the second version of the HoloLens to further advance what Mixed Reality can achieve.
What is the current FOV of Microsoft HoloLens?
The current Field of View of the HoloLens is 35 degrees. This was set by Microsoft during the development of the HoloLens due to certain technical limitations in producing the system where the angle of the waveguide is restricted, resulting in the narrow FOV.
Microsoft has not been resting on its laurels however and has been working on improving the HoloLens FOV in time for version 2.
The current 35 degree Field of View in the HoloLens was limited as such due to physics of the technology involved. Engineers at Microsoft, however, have developed a technique whereby the wavelength can be split into two 35 degree packets, meaning that the final FOV for the user will be around 70 degrees.
In the words of Microsoft's Developers:
Through proper design and placement of an input-coupler and proper placement and design of two or more intermediate-components, different parts of a FOV can be guided in different directions. Such embodiments can provide two significant advantages. First, such embodiments can provide for a total diagonal FOV that is very large, even though each of the intermediate-components individually support a relatively smaller FOV (e.g., a diagonal FOV of no more than about 35 degrees). Additionally, since only a desired part of a FOV is guided in each of the different directions, there can be significant power savings (e.g., of up to 50%).
What does this mean for clients and practical uses?
Firstly, it must be noted that it is positive that the improvement of the FOV will also extend the HoloLens' battery life making it even more of a useful field tool for industries such as construction and engineering.
Secondly, a greater field of view will enhance immersion and will help HoloLens to compete with companies such as Meta. However, it must be said that the already untethered nature of the HoloLens gives Microsoft's Mixed Reality hardware a clear advantage among Mixed Reality hardware.
Double the amount of viewing space in the next version of the HoloLens would allow for increased engagement and for the HoloLens to expand its core industry usage. It would also expedite the device's learning curve as first time users would be immersed more easily into the various holographic applications that are available.
Furthermore, the expansion would enable for even greater immersive applications to be designed as designing for the narrower 35 degree field of view would no longer be necessary. This brings about a huge leap forward for the potential of HoloLens and Mixed Reality in general as this will allow it to be embraced by a wider commercial and general audience.
While we continue to work closely with partners to create immersive HoloLens applications, and our own solutions like our new HoloLens remote assistance application we nevertheless look forward to seeing the next iteration of HoloLens with the expanded field of view.