HoloLens’ creator took his design inspiration from a hat

Microsoft announced the latest edition of its HoloLens mixed reality headset at MWC Barcelona on Sunday, promising vast improvements over the previous device released four years ago. The HoloLens team is led by Alex Kipman, a Microsoft veteran who has been with the company for more than 17 years and, before joining HoloLens, worked to develop the Kinect for Xbox.

The biggest change for the second iteration of the headset is the wider field of view. The HoloLens team has also refined the gesture control and greatly increased the device’s eye-tracking capabilities. Digital text, floating in augmented reality, now automatically scrolls based on how fast the user is reading. A surprising challenge, Kipman says, was figuring out the right latency for eye tracking, which is the amount of time between the HoloLens seeing where your eyes are looking and it acting on this information. The HoloLens is actually faster than the human brain to process what you’re looking at, which the team realized only after testing the new functionality.

The HoloLens 2 is pitched towards business customers, and Microsoft is partnering with engineering, health care, and manufacturing companies for the initial rollout of the device.

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