Microsoft Confirms Follow-Up To HoloLens Mixed Reality Headset

HoloLens enters spotlight with new updates from Microsoft and a new ad featuring actor/rapper Common.

Despite having released a developer edition all the way back in 2016, the Microsoft HoloLens has remained a relatively niche device. However, this hasn’t stopped the immersive mixed reality headset from capturing the hearts and minds of a growing group of dedicated developers — both amateur and professional alike.

This past July, it was revealed that a more powerful follow-up to the AR headset was currently in the works. But after a series of scary updates regarding the discontinuation of specific parts serving as key components in the headset, the future of the innovative device appeared to be up in the air. Now thanks to a statement made yesterday by Alex Kipman, HoloLens pioneer and member of Microsoft’s Operating System Group, those of you nervous about an abrupt end to their beloved headset can breathe a little easier:

“We announced last July that the next version of HoloLens will further incorporate AI into our custom silicon in the HoloLens the Holographic Processing Unit or HPU for short. This continues our journey of enabling computers to truly perceive their environments, and we’re just beginning. The computing power delivered by the cloud is one of the catalysts accelerating AI, and this is the year that the mixed reality cloud becomes real. Cloud-assisted AI for understanding physical objects is happening today. Combining this with mixed reality will enable us to deliver persistent mixed reality experiences with people, places, and things.”

This news comes right after an extra special advertisement aired by Microsoft during this year’s NBA All-Star game. The one minute ad features the spoken word talent of actor/rapper Common as he delivers a powerful rallying cry to the younger generation calling them to utilize the technology they’re blessed with to change the world. Of course this means loads of Microsoft devices from the Surface Studio, Dial and Pen, to the infamous Kinect.

The most exciting showcase comes at the end however as one user dawns a HoloLens to virtually deconstruct a human body in augmented reality. And while the medical app demonstrated during the commercial doesn’t bring anything particular new to the table, it’s still important to note this is one of the first instances of Microsoft making a genuine effort to promote the HoloLens.

I mean everything is there: An A-list celebrity with overall appeal, an inspiring speech with religious undertones, a high budget production, etc.

So while this may not be the tidal wave of updates some of us were hoping for, it’s enough to just know support for the HoloLens and its eventual successor haven’t slowed down.

As to when we can expect to see this new-and-improved HoloLens derivative, that’s hard to say. Seeing as how the post in which Kipman included the above information was entitled ‘What to expect for Mixed Reality in 2018,’ it wouldn’t be crazy to think we may be getting some real information at some point this year.

About the Scout

Kyle Melnick

Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.

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