Microsoft HoloLens 2, The future of Mixed Reality Learning environments

In February, Microsoft launched their newest Mixed reality headset. This piece of kit is noteworthy because although it is out of reach of our schools now, it may open the door to mixed reality learning environments down the road. The headset, which is beautifully crafted, allows users to mix hologram images with their real life environment. The sleek fit, high end technology, pin point resolution and easy to use interface make the HoloLens 2 a very intelligent device that could significantly influence education, health, engineering and creative fields world wide.

What it does?

The HoloLens 2 is designed to fit comfortably and adapts to the users own environment and body. It immediately identifies users through Iris scanning technology and its multiple sensors track the users fingers and hand movement. This allows users to easily interact with holograms. Users can push, slide, resize and move holograms around their environment with ease. Applications such as “Spatial” allow users to see and interact with 3-dimensional objects. For example, users could look at a 3-dimensional hologram of a shark and move it around examining its features. Or, users could construct and deconstruct a hologram of a car from the comfort of their home.  The video below explores some of the functions of HoloLens 2 and gives a brief introduction to some of its many capabilities.

Currently, HoloLens 2 and Philips have been working on designing applications that allow surgeons to use the HoloLens 2 as a tool during surgery. With HoloLens 2, surgeons can see hands-free screens with real time info graphs on patient information, specific notes and 3-D images of the body as the surgery is being carried out. Normally, for these procedures, surgeons would have to look up at different 2-d screens. With HoloLens 2 the screens are there in the environment and can moved around and easily accessed. It really is fascinating how simple and effective this is, Check it out in the video below.


Potential for Education

At present, the price of HoloLens 2 is a long way from what schools can afford. Microsoft have stated that HoloLens 2 is for the “First Line workers”, the people who operate machines and are working in the field, away from desktops and laptops. However, the technology and immersive nature of the HoloLens 2 really does bode well for a classroom environment. Students could use it to collaborate with others across the world in an immersive environment. They could interact with things they may not have been previously possible. Imagine bringing a dinosaur into the classroom or placing an interactive map of an ancient city on the school desk. Imagine the engagement and enjoyment that these seamless and user friendly holograms would bring to students in our schools. The potential would be boundless. This technology is in its early days and is therefore expensive. As such, it may seem out of reach of classroom application but so did computers, laptops and devices not so long ago and its fair to say that they have become important tools in learning environments today. Whatever the case may be, the HoloLens 2 is clearly a step in the right direction to making more immersive and user friendly technology that could have a powerful impact on how we teach and learn in schools and i would not be one bit surprised if Microsoft have big plans for HoloLens 2 and education.

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