The HoloLens

By Kaitlin Logie, 17th November 2016

What is the Microsoft HoloLens?

The Microsoft HoloLens is the first self contained holo-graphic computer! The HoloLens enables the use to interact and engage with digital content and engage with holograms around you in a “mixed reality” environment. Specialised components on a headset such as multiple sensors and a custom holographic processing unit enables the user to go “beyond the screen”! The Microsoft HoloLens transforms the way we interact with, communicate and explore ideas.


(image by nik_ukm2000)

What is “Mixed Reality”?

Mixed reality blends holograms (your digital content) into your 3D physical world. Mixed reality is a combination of augmented reality (overlays digital information on top of your real world) and virtual reality (immerses you into a stimulated world). Mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are in your real world. Interacting with mixed reality enables you to visualise your work with digital content as part of your real world. It has been said that mixed reality is a “more natural” form of visualisation. Holograms are responsive to you, and interact with you in the most “natural” way.


(image by Antonio E. Da Silva Campos)

How can the Microsoft HoloLens improve my research?

Microsoft believes that mixed reality can be used to create new experiences that will contribute to advances in productivity, collaboration and innovation. The HoloLens engages with researchers across many disciplines and pushes the boundaries at the intersection of software and hardware. The HoloLens is an effective visualisation tool for researchers to actively interact with. It allows researchers to interact with 3D holograms blended with the real world. Mixed reality could potentially be used to make large data sets easier to navigate and understand!


(image by Tech Events)

The HoloLens is a very new tool! In order to interact directly with the HoloLens it potentially isn’t an easy task for beginners. It involves developing apps using software to enable specific utilisation of the full capability of the HoloLens. Microsoft in early 2015 actually offered research grants for researchers to work with the HoloLens to help with envisioning novel ways of using the HoloLens! Basically, Microsoft doesn’t exactly know what will become of the HoloLens just yet, although it has some ideas. Microsoft is extremely interested in seeing how the HoloLens could be used to visualise data, help people communicate, assist in teaching and the research potential in medical and design fields!


(image by Tech Events)

There is huge potential for the HoloLens! But it will take some development.

How can I access time with a HoloLens?

The Centre for eResearch at the University of Auckland owns a HoloLens for development. If you are interested in potentially using or developing for the HoloLens and want to see one in person contact Nick Young for assistance at 

Otherwise attend one of our Hacky Hours! Someone there will be able to discuss with you one on one and push you in the right direction.

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