Field Test: Using the HoloLens in Social Settings – Veronica Ortiz

As a filmmaker, I try to understand how the experience of consuming content affects us and how different it is for every individual. I’ve observed that society is moving more and more into solitary ways of consumption: we stream movies and series alone in our rooms – forgoing the communal experience. Water cooler conversations are becoming infrequent as the threat of spoilers looms ever present. Still, we are social creatures and we still gather in some ways to comment and share things together; even if it’s on a message board. This is why Game of Thrones viewing parties still exist.

Regarding the HoloLens, it seems to me like a better alternative to the completely solitary experience of virtual reality. Still, I wondered how effective it would be to carry on with outside conversations and outside stimuli while at the same time wearing the HoloLens. While everyone was very excited about the HoloLens coming into class, I had one burning comment on the back of my mind when someone was pinching the air during class: “That’s awkward.”

Would it be difficult to try to follow the outside world and what’s happening in the HoloLens? Is it uncomfortable for the person wearing the HoloLens, for the people around them or for everyone? I hypothesized that it would be almost impossible to carry out a simple task with other people while wearing the HoloLens.

To test this out, I had one person wearing the HoloLens and playing the “HoloTour” app while at the same time trying to finish a game of UNO with two other people. To my surprise, the person wearing the HoloLens actually won the game and she was forming part of our conversation while at the same time commenting things like “There’s a huge globe in front of your face right now.”


I had everyone who did the test fill out a simple survey that explained how they felt throughout the test and was surprised by the results. Even though I didn’t gather any discomfort in the conversation by observation, the comments on the survey indicated that they both felt very awkward maintaining a conversation with the HoloLens.

Survey Answers:

HoloLens – Google Forms

HoloLens2 – Google Forms

This is obviously a very amateurish experiment, but it would be interesting to have this tested out with larger groups and to gather more data on the issue. It seems, to me, a waste to funnel so much money into a technology that people might shun away from because of its awkward and isolated design.