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Microsoft Explains How HoloLens Differs from AR/VR

HoloLens, Microsoft’s mixed reality (MR) head-mounted display (HMD), is clearly very different from virtual reality (VR) technology. While VR builds virtual worlds around the user, HoloLens creates virtual objects within the real one. You can see how fans might end up comparing the tech to augmented reality (AR), then, which augments with real world with information. But, according to Microsoft, HoloLens is very different from both VR and AR technologies, and has recently explained why.

HoloLens Project XRAY screenshot

A newly launched FAQ for HoloLens asks ‘How is this different from existing AR and VR technologies?’ to which the company replies: “Holographic computing experiences with Microsoft HoloLens are different from existing experiences, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). With AR, the user sees a layer or screen of data that overlays the real world. While this data can be contextual to the user’s location, or where the device’s camera is pointed, it is not the same as being able to see holographic objects placed in specific physical locations or objects in the real world.

“With VR, the user is completely immersed in a computer-generated reality, or virtual world. While immersed in a virtual world, users are best advised to stay seated or keep still to avoid collisions with physical objects they cannot see in the real world. Holographic experiences on Windows are about delivering a mixed reality that lets you enjoy your digital life while staying more connected to the world around you–transforming the ways you create, connect, and explore,” the company concludes.

One way in which HoloLens certainly differentiates itself from VR is price; the development edition of the kit costs nearly 10 times that of the Oculus Rift’s $350 USD Development Kit 2 (DK2) at $3,000. These editions will be arriving in Q1 2016 for successful applicants. VRFocus will continue to follow HoloLens closely, reporting back with the latest updates on the device.