Assignment 2: My Microsoft HoloLens Experience

Last Tuesday I got the chance to try on the Microsoft HoloLens.

It’s a bit bulky looking and feeling, but I can only imagine that in time, it will become just as outdated as the box set television. Augmented reality has so much potential for changing and altering the way we interact as human beings. In this “Information Age” that we live in, staying connected is important for the types of jobs that we’re going to hold and the types of things we’re going to do with our interests as communications students. I used to constantly feel overwhelmed with all this new emerging technology because I felt like I didn’t know what I could do with it. I’ve always felt incomplete as just a consumer, but yet, I didn’t feel like I had the technical knowledge to understand the scope of technology like 360 video or augmented reality or virtual reality. I like to know how and why I’m going to use things before using them. However, I’m realizing through this class that no one really has it figured out yet anyway. The fact that I want to be a visual storyteller allows me to find purpose and reasoning for my tinkering with this technology. Prof. Ken Harper talked briefly about Chris Milk and his work with virtual reality immersion; I was inspired by his TedX Talk where Chris explains how interactive technology has the power to unite people. I want to discover this for myself.

Wearing the HoloLens was very mind-bending; I pinched and picked up puppies and elephants and rainbows and placed them around the room. Prof. Pacheco explained how the HoloLens scans the room and you can actually turn it off, leave the room, come back the next day, put it back on, and the same virtual “items” you placed around the room will stay in the same place. Fascinating!

I wasn’t a fan of the pinching gesture to click on things. As a digital native, I’m used to technology where pointing makes the most sense when trying to select things. Pinching makes me think of zooming in or out. However, I understand that it makes sense as it allows the HoloLens to capture the specific motion of two fingers touching together.

The headset was a little bit bulky, but the lens experience itself wasn’t dizzying or distracting at all. I still felt very present in the room with my classmates and could pay attention to what Prof. Pacheco was saying. The one thing that really blew me away was opening a web browser anywhere in the room and leaving it there. You can watch Youtube videos or check your email or chat on Facebook within the HoloLens if you browse the internet. The first thing that came to mind is the capability to edit a video literally anywhere. All you’d need is a HoloLens and a keyboard and you could sit on top of a mountain (with decent WiFi, of course) and edit a video. No longer do you have to be tied down to a desk and a monitor.

I’m fascinated by where we are with technology and am glad I got a chance to be one of first to try out the HoloLens. I wish I had taken a picture of myself using it, but alas, maybe in my next post.