Microsoft is releasing Hololens to developers in March and they should have their devices by month end. As part of the announcement they showcased some of the initial tools and games and this got me to thinking about the unusual things this device could enable. Games we’ve never thought to play before and uses that could be truly amazing. Let’s talk about some of these.
Hololens + Kinect
We’ve played games with Kinect where the Xbox
can translate your body into a game controller and capture images but now think about playing games with the Xbox where you were also using an integrated Hololens. You could actually play tennis with someone in a different country from your room to their room. It would be like there was a window in your wall where the net was, you could see their room and them and they could see your room and you and the virtual ball would move between both spaces. Tennis, volleyball, badminton, and Pickle-ball would all work. You just pick up a racket, put on your Hololens, and link up your Xbox and suddenly where ever the Xbox is your court and you don’t even have to move the furniture because the game will adopt to it. And if the ball gets away from you and hits a lamp or window it won’t actually break anything.
How about attending a virtual event where everyone attending is rendered and you can see them? You basically are able to look around the virtual auditorium and see everyone sitting on their own chair, wearing whatever they are wearing (comic-con event?) and engaging as if they were physically there. Want to actually be the entertainment? The band could be organized based on skill and ranking the sound sent out to the audience as if they were in an auditorium and the images of the band connected to make it look like they were on stage together. Granted latency would have to be taken into account but you could even have plays where the various actors aren’t even in the same country though that could make romantic scenes a tad challenging.
Or how about family events where it appeared like everyone as in the same room but not as avatars but as themselves. Imagine a soldier on overseas deployment able to attend his or her kid’s birthday as if they were there in person? Or be there Christmas morning?
We place cameras all over domestic cars but if we did the same with race cars and the drivers wore Hololens it could connect to the cameras dynamically and allow the driver to see through body panels at obstacles or other cars. Like a super heads up display drivers could not only see their gauges but actually look at their engine to see if there was a visible problem associated with that strange noise. They could have overlays showing them the perfect line through curves and make sure the drivers saw the different flags that went up. Kind of a combination of x-ray vision and heads up display.
Now how about a race game in your own car? You move your seat back and attach a game steering when to your wheel, drop down game peddles, and stick in place a shifter. You enter what kind of car you have and the specs and scan your car. Now you can sit in your seat, have the race appear to go on outside your car windows, and, because your car isn’t really moving, you get an authentic racking experience without risking any real damage to your car.
This seems like a natural. You get on a connected treadmill, connected stationary bike, or connected stationary rower put on Hololens and suddenly you are in a group event. Spinning would be a natural for this. You can look around and see the other class members/runners/riders and then take off on your adventure together. And the courses don’t even need to be on earth, you could take a lap around Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Barsoom, or Deep Space 9 depending on your interest and you could even change the images of the other folks in the class to be Elves, Hobbits, Martians, or Klingons. You could add virtual weapons for even more fun and have the advantages of a group exercise experience from your home.
Wrapping Up: Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
I think I’m only on the tip of the iceberg here and that there are a huge number of fascinating new games and activities the Hololens will enable that it will take some time to figure out. In the end though we are seeing the beginning of the end of reality as we know it and that, I think, is the most exciting part of the Hololens roll out. This isn’t virtual reality or augmented reality, it is altered reality and that should make for some really incredible applications for this new technology.