The New Digital Space

The past few days have been filled with exciting news in technology. The most interesting one to me was the Microsoft HoloLens 2. I wanted to write about this new technology product because I believe it will encourage artists to think of a new canvas: creating digital content in the format for mixed-reality.

Photo from the Verge

Microsoft revealed the sequel to their first mixed-reality product the original Microsoft HoloLens at MWC in Barcelona, an exhibition where tech companies can preview their future mobile tech products. The new Microsoft HoloLens 2 improves the capabilities of the original by implementing a new display system that combines lasers, mirrors, and waveguides. The waveguides are designed meticulously to be able to reflect the lasers into your retina, without the need for a custom fitting. Essentially, the system is able to adapt to any wearer, regardless of if the user wears glasses or vary in the width of their eyes.

This new system allows for HoloLens 2 to create a wider display of objects in the viewer’s point of view. In addition, the system has a higher fidelity of image quality, allowing the details to be as fine as 8pt font on a computer screen. The system also has cameras to recognize hand gestures, allowing user to interact with the objects that are displayed.

Gif from the Verge

Microsoft intends for the HoloLens 2 to be used by front-line workers such as mechanics, surgeons, and designers. With mixed-reality, the digital content needs to be designed where the content is interacting with the live environment. The increased image quality and computer vision capabilities of the HoloLens 2 allows for applications such as providing instructions to fix complicated machinery.

Gif created from video demonstration

I believe designers will face many challenges when creating content for this product. One example is that the assets they create need to be able to dynamically scale as the user get closer or farther away from the object that the digital content is overlaying. In addition, the content needs to change depending on how the user interacts with the digital content. To me, it sounds like the content designers make will almost have to be life-like. They are not static digital images anymore, they are digital objects in reality.

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