Microsoft bends reality with the release of its HoloLens 2

The new device combines the abilities of the cloud, virtual reality, and powerful AI, in order to create a unique holographic experience.

Imagine a connected world in which face-to-face communication is instantaneous. No need for phone calls or lengthy commutes, just a simple and personal interaction with someone else, wherever and whenever it is needed. For this to be true, we would likely need to make teleporting a reality. However, Microsoft may have just rolled out the next best thing. 
Today, Microsoft announced that its HoloLens 2 is now shipping to customers. This holographic virtual-reality headset blends the real and digital world to create a mixed reality, creating endless possibilities for businesses and individuals. The device will be sold in three different options, device only, the device with Remote Assist, and the HoloLens 2 Development addition. The last option will include $500 credit for Azure, Unity Pro, and PiXYZ Plugin.
A factory worker wearing a HoloLens 2 headset works on a piece of machinery while a hologram plays instructions next to her
 Microsoft's rendition of a worker using the HoloLens 2 to inform her while on the job (photo courtesy of   Microsoft)
Microsoft's HoloLens 2 uses advanced AI systems in order to make the virtual experience it projects seem more natural. In development, the HoloLens AI was extensively trained to recognize real human hand and eye movements. When a user equips the HoloLens 2, the device can create a personalized model of this user's features. The device also pays attention to the user's eyes, specifically the distance between the pupils, as this affects how a person sees objects from closer or farther away. 
As a result of all this AI training, the HoloLens 2 can create interactions with holograms that the user perceives as more fluid and natural. Microsoft's hope is that the HoloLens will create a completely immersive experience. In order to further establish a believable virtual reality environment, the HoloLens' bodily scans and other intelligent features are all performed within the device's onboard processing system. In addition to clearing up some privacy concerns, and also allows the device to process calculations in milliseconds, making the holograms appear more realistic.
If this doesn't sound futuristic enough, the HoloLens 2 literally allows users to blur reality and the digital scape. Like many devices today, the HoloLens 2 makes heavy use of the cloud. using Microsoft Azure, users of the new device can share spatial holographic data between devices in order to collaborate more easily. For example, if one person places a hologram in a specific location in their home or work, another person with the proper level of access can view it. In this way, the world can literally be "annotated." These functions should help engage and empower employees, and forward collaboration.
The device should be useful for a number of different types of work. For example, anyone can benefit from watching a training tutorial at the same time they are working on a job for the first time. Designers can walk through virtual models they are working on at the real-world scale. Additionally, technology companies are working alongside Microsoft to bring more workplace solutions to the new HoloLens. Therefore, the opportunities for this device are likely to continue to grow into the future.
Developer wearing HoloLens 2 headset modifying hologram 
 The technological capabilities of the HoloLens 2 allow it to 'mix reality' (photo courtesy of Microsoft).
The HoloLens 2 is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable. This will be important for users who spend portions of their day wearing the device. Upon arrival, the HoloLens comes with a head strap, a carrying case for ease of transportation, and a microfiber cloth for keeping it clean.
At the end of the day, Microsoft's goal with the HoloLens 2 is to create a digitally altered world that still feels natural to human perception. Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman states that "For HoloLens to work as envisioned, the technology that underpins the experience needs to understand the world in ways that are similar to the way people do." That is the end goal of all of the AI training and technical development that has gone into the device. By using the HoloLens to enhance reality in a seemingly organic way, the potential for this device is incredible. As Kipman points out, "The power of this technology is it gives us the ability to displace space and time.”
An article published by Microsoft outlining the creation of the device can be read here