Microsoft first launched the mixed reality device HoloLens in 2016; its successor, the HoloLens 2, appeared three years later. The headset has a new design, but there is more to it than just visual modification. Bitnamic presents the most important functions and significant changes of the HoloLens 2 compared to its predecessor.

Appearance and main area of ​​application of the HoloLens 2

In general, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 can be described as a hands-free controllable computer with WLAN connectivity that does not require any cables or external accessories. The device sees everything the user sees and is controlled by voice or gestures. The display opens up an additional, digital information level within our reality. This interaction with holographic elements that remain in user-defined positions and react like physical objects – that’s mixed reality.

The HoloLens 2 was designed for the industrial sector, as it’s the biggest field of application – especially with regard to remote support, i.e. location-independent problem solving, visual inspection, etc. The numerous improvements that can be determined in a direct comparison with the previous model HoloLens 1 are also aimed at this. In our opinion, an upgrade to the successor is definitely recommended.

New and further developed features of the HoloLens 2

In terms of size and weight, not much has changed – both models are one size, the HoloLens 1 is only 13 grams heavier. More serious differences can be found in the handling, the field of vision and other aspects.

  • Wearing comfort: When you put on the HoloLens 2, you can see the first improvements compared to the previous model. The headset is only slightly lighter due to the use of carbon fibers, but the balanced center of gravity makes the new device much more comfortable and can be worn painlessly for several hours at a time. Due to the elastic bracket, the HoloLens 2 is easier to put on and can be adjusted to any head size and shape using the rotary knob on the back. The new dial-in-fit system also allows it to be worn over glasses. For a quick change from mixed reality to our physical reality, only the visor needs to be flipped up.
  • Field of view: The field of view of the HoloLens 2 has been greatly enlarged for better clarity. This makes it much easier to interact with holograms, for example.
  • Resolution: The image quality has also improved tremendously, the resolution of 47 pixels per degree roughly corresponds to the change from a 720p television to 2K.
  • Gesture control: The revised hand control enables a more intuitive interaction with holograms. No pre-programmed gestures are required – thanks to the tracking of 25 points on the hand, the HoloLens 2 can process any hand movement. Objects can be moved using drag & drop, and the menu can be opened by pressing a virtual button on the user’s wrist.
  • Voice control: The HoloLens 1 was already able to execute voice commands, but its successor also has voice tracking, which further improves voice control.
  • Eye tracking: New on the HoloLens 2 are sensors that measure the user’s eye movements. They record where the gaze wanders and which elements are fixed, whereby the intention of the user is recognized and the system can determine even more precisely which hologram is to be interacted with. In addition, the wearer’s eye relief is automatically set via the sensors, which enables an individually optimized display of holographic elements. The eye-tracking interface was programmed in accordance with data protection regulations; personal data, especially biometric data, will not be passed on.
  • Biometric recognition: Thanks to the biometric authentication via iris recognition in Windows Hello, the successor to the HoloLens 1 can be unlocked much more easily and used safely by several people in one company.

 

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HoloLens 1 vs HoloLens 2 – technical data in direct comparison

 

HoloLens 1 HoloLens 2
Resolution 1280 x 720 (per eye) 2048 x 1080 (per eye)
Weight 579 g 566 g
SoC Intel 32-bit (1GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 850
Memory 2 GB RAM 8 GB RAM
Kamera 2.4 MP, HD video 8MP, 1080p video
Microphone array 4 channels 5 channels
Eye-based rendering Automatic pupillary distance calibration Display optimization for 3D eye position
Eye tracking No Yes, 2 IR cameras
Hand tracking One hand Both hands
Gestures like Press, Grab, Direct manipulation etc. No Yes
Voice command Yes Yes
Biometric identification No Yes
Battery life 2-3 hours of active use 2-3 hours of active use
Price: HoloLens 1 no longer available 3.752,00 €

Work easier, faster and more efficiently with bitnamic CONNECT and Microsoft HoloLens 2

With the HoloLens, Microsoft has developed an augmented reality device that makes it possible to merge reality with virtual content and thereby facilitate all work processes, especially in the industrial sector. The HoloLens 2 builds on the advantages of its predecessor, offers improved and new functions for even more efficient handling.

In combination with bitnamic CONNECT, also available as an app for both HoloLens models, maintenance processes can be significantly accelerated and complex problems on machines can be quickly resolved under expert guidance. Give your employees the right tool to design or review work environments, train complex procedures and advise customers – all completely independent of location. Welcome to Industry 4.0.