Microsoft unveils Windows Holographic, blending VR with real world

Microsoft has just announced Windows Holograpic, a version of the operating system that will allow users to blend virtual reality with the real world using a new headset.

Running on Windows 10, the mind-blowing new augmented reality technology places holographic imagery over the natural field of vision and enables users to interact with items and objects using a series of gestures.

For example, while wearing one of the company’s HoloLens headsets, designers can augment and overlay their work with 3D objects or create designs in 3D space.

Gamers will be able to play Minecraft with worlds laid out in their real-life living room and use gestures to select tools and build new structures. Skype conversations will be available within the field of vision, rather than on a separate display. NASA has also built an application that will help their scientists walk on Mars with the help of imagery sent from the Curiosity rover.

During demonstrations on stage at the Windows 10 event, Microsoft pointed out that Windows Holographic knows exactly where the users eye gaze is at all times allowing users simply to point their fingers at items they see in real world space in order to select them. This will make it easy to open apps in the Windows 10 interface.

Microsoft hopes the version of the operating system will be compatible with products like the Oculus Rift, but it plans to release its own HoloLens hardware ‘within the Windows 10 timeframe.’

The wireless HoloLens headset has a see through lens and contains a brand new Holographic Processing Unit. Like the Oculus Rift it’ll have Spatial audio, but unlike the Oculus Rift it will operate independently and will not need to be connected to a separate computer.

Read more: All the big news from Microsoft’s big Windows 10 event

The company has also designed 3D modelling tool called HoloStudio, which allows users to build there own Holograms which can be sent to other apps or even 3D printed. As it’s all running on Windows 10 all apps are now universal, so there will be no cross-device quibbles.

Attendees at Microsoft’s event in Redmond today will get to experience Windows Holographic first hand, with Microsoft claiming it fits seamlessly into the Windows 10 ecosystem. On a day of big announcements form Satya Nadella’s troops, this might just be the biggest.