NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) may have given us the first public eye on the next-generation HoloLens.
A video released October 10 shows a collaboration between NASA JPL and Microsoft called OnSight A HoloLens that looks very different from the current generation model.
Developer Jasper Brekelmans noted the sleeker, slimmer version Twitter :
Compared to the dark gray power generation model The HoloLens 2 has a boxer design with a metallic-silver finish, with sharper angles than the rounded shape of the original. The new visor also appears to be smaller and vertically oriented, avoiding the wedge shape of the original. Since the size of a banana is too big, it seems to be smaller than the original.
The OnSight project allows scientists to navigate the terrain of Mars in augmented reality using a HoloLens. A government-funded research institute, the California Institute of Technology, manages JPL for NASA.
Using images from NASA's Curiosity Rover, the application creates a 3D model of the terrain that allows engineers and scientists, particularly geologists, to study rocks. Dunes, valleys and other features from the face of the red planet. Users in different locations can collaborate in the experience, with avatars representing the colleagues who are going through the immersive 3D model.
"Feeling like you're standing on Mars gives you a different feeling of Mars than just looking at the pictures," said Parker Abercrombie, OnSight Team Leader. "And I think it's a really powerful way to get people to places they can not physically visit."
Winning the NASA Software of the Year award, the development team is working on a version of the app that will be available to the general public. In the meantime, Google's Access Mars webVR app has a similar experience.
"The ability to visualize Curiosys drives and make them virtual before we actually do it with the rover is very helpful to give me a sense of how safe or challenging the terrain will be", said Abigail Fraeman, a member of the Curiosity science team.
Based on previous reports, HoloLens 2 should be available in the first quarter of 2019 at a cheaper price and with a lighter weight and a more comfortable fit.
Microsoft has announced that the device will include the new Project Kinect for Azure sensor, which provides significantly improved spatial allocation. The custom silicon of its AI powered holographic processing unit will also be able to dynamically update its neural network.
The next issue is expected to have a larger field of view.
We focused on Microsoft and JPL for a comment to see if they could shed light on these pictures. It can be a prototype (working or not) or a generated mixed-reality device. But it sure looks smooth.
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