Whether it’s revolutionizing home mobility or transforming airplane cabin service, the Microsoft HoloLens headset is having an immediate impact on the world around us. Considered to be “the first self-contained, holographic computer,” the HoloLens allows users to engage with digital content like never before. It’s an exciting time for AR/VR technology and Microsoft is at the forefront of innovation, yet again.

Object Recognition Technology

By combining both virtual and augmented reality, HoloLens’ wearers get to experience 3D object overlays on real-world backdrops. Knowing the importance of perfecting object recognition technology, Microsoft has announced that its second-generation HoloLens will come equipped with a dedicated coprocessor.

So, what does this all mean for HoloLens and its users? It means that Microsoft will build a custom AI chip for object recognition in-house – making its groundbreaking headset all the more immersive (and impressive). With the HoloLens on the cusp of commercial release, adding the AI chip will enable the headset to tell what’s around it at all times.

“We really do need custom silicon to help power some of the scenarios and applications that we are building,” as Microsoft’s chief technology officer, Kevin Scott, told Bloomberg.

The ultimate goal of AR/VR is to provide a fully immersive experience to the user. The technology is compromised if the Gamer, for example, is pulled out of their digital world for even a split second. If the HoloLens headset is unable to tell the difference between a window or a sofa, the believability of the world around the Gamer is compromised when he/she tries to sit on the coach or open a nearby window. Microsoft’s dedicated AI coprocessor would enhance the HoloLens’ ability to recognize all types of objects.

NextGen AI Coprocessor

The technology is called “Computer Vision” with Deep Neural Network (DNN’s) and according to a recent New Atlas article, is “notoriously difficult to work with.” This is mostly because of the amount of data needed and its inability to multitask effectively. The first-generation HoloLens is equipped with a Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) which retrieves all of the head tracking, inertia, and infrared data. The current model is poised to get a serious upgrade with its built-in AI coprocessor – replacing a deep learning system “unable to perform many of the operations in parallel.”

Without needing the assistance of a hardware companion or connecting to cloud services, Microsoft’s new AI chip will make the HoloLens a standalone headset powered by the device’s internal battery system. The latest HoloLens news was made by Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017 in Hawaii.

About Microsoft HoloLens

As the first fully self-contained holographic computer, HoloLens captures information about the surrounding environment. With its Sensor Fusion technology, Microsoft HoloLens can see, map, and understand the physical places, spaces, and things around us. Specialized components—like multiple sensors, advanced optics, and a custom holographic processing unit—enable Microsoft to go beyond the screen.

Source: Microsoft HoloLens, New Atlas, Bloomberg