The BBC has reported that Microsoft has announced that it’s looking into ways it can make its HoloLens augmented reality headset respond to users’ stress levels. On the Htet Tayza blog I ask what such a move could indicate about the potential of holographic technology.
Microsoft’s holographic headset
Whenever I hear the word holograph, I think of low-budget 80’s and 90’s sci-fi shows. It sounds like something out of Star Trek or Star Wars or something else with the word “star” in it. However, holographic technology has developed leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and is becoming more sophisticated than we could have ever imagined.
Take Microsoft’s “holographic” headset, for example. In January the tech firm announced that it had developed a product called the HoloLens augmented reality headset which was created to superimpose computer graphics over a user’s view of the world to offer a “mixed reality,” experience. The company said that it envisages that this sort of immersive tech could provide users with a fascinating alternative to traditional computer technologies such as monitors, keyboards and touch screens.
Generating content by tracking body movement
The amazing thing about this product is that it really signals a meteoric shift in technology. This is because it would depend on analysis of the user’s body movements; head pose, eye movements, voice and motion, to generate the content they need to see.
Microsoft recently revealed in a US patent application how the product could work. The patent revealed that the company is looking into ways it can design the headset to respond to a user’s stress levels via their brainwave production, heart rate, sweat production and other body signals. This would allow it to understand when to intervene to generate content geared towards lowering the user’s stress levels.
Holographic headset could help users deal with stress
The patent explains: “An augmented reality help system (would) determine that the user is experiencing a stress response (and) present help content to the user via the head-mounted display device.”
How would this work in reality? Say that someone was constructing flat pack furniture (one of the most stress jobs in existence!). The kit would detect when the user starts to stress out and would utilise image recognition software to show them how to fit the parts together.
What does this mean for holographic tech?
At the moment, this isn’t much more than a concept. However the fact that companies such as Microsoft are even thinking of taking holographic technology in this direction speaks volumes. It shows us the true potential of this innovative technological advancement. One day we could be using devices such as the HoloLens augmented reality headset to change the way we live.