Microsoft is finally ready to begin slowly releasing HoloLens into the wild over a year after first unveiling the futuristic augmented reality headset at company headquarters. It announced Monday morning that developers who applied for the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition will start to receive invitations to purchase, with shipments to start on March 30.
Unlike the much-maligned Google Glass, which is tethered to a mobile device and could be worn all day out in the world, HoloLens is a self-contained system running Windows 10 that seems to work well for a variety of more specific purposes liking gaming, 3D modeling and just pretending like you're Tom Cruise in "Minority Report" around the office.
Microsoft says HoloLens is "powered by a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) and an Intel 32-bit architecture. The HPU is custom silicon that allows HoloLens to understand gestures and gaze while mapping the world all around you, all in real time."
Translating that into English, HoloLens overlays holographic projections on your view of the real world environment around you while a suite of sensors in the headset interprets that environment and your position in it. HoloLens can be controlled through voice commands, gestures and even the movement of your eyes.
It will still be a little while before regular consumers can get their hands on HoloLens. Hopefully the consumer edition will be a little cheaper than the Development Edition, which requires developers to put down $3,000 for one.
It is technically possible to develop new uses for HoloLens, with APIs that have been available for sometime, and new documentation and even an emulator that will become available next month via Microsoft's site for developers.
Check out the promotional video below to see HoloLens in action, and also watch this demo of a first-person murder mystery game, the next generation of Skype calls powered by the headset and even more early HoloLens projects.