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HoloLens shaping up well but may have an overheating issue

Microsoft’s HoloLens system is reportedly prone to overheating in its current form, according to one developer.

Early development models of Microsoft’s ambitious augmented-reality headset have started being sent out to developers, and the first serious feedback is starting to come in.

David Dedeine has overseen development of the HoloLens games Young Conker and Fragments, so he’s one of the few people to have obtained meaningful hands-on (or heads-in) time with the HoloLens. He’s been speaking with PC World about the experience.

While Dedeine praised the greater physicality of the HoloLens experience compared to standard VR, as well as speaking of reduced motion sickness, he did point out some initial concerns.

The main issue, according to the developer, is heat management. Unlike other VR headsets, the HoloLens essentially crams a complete computer into the headset, which means that there’s a heat-emitting CPU within inches of your skull. This can prove very uncomfortable for the user.

Indeed, HoloLens has been designed to shut down a game if things become too hot, so as not to cook the wearer.

“The most important thing is to really be economical,” says Dedaine of the adjustment this requires on the part of developers. “You’d never need to do this with console or PC – it’s all about consumption of energy, battery savings.”

As for other possible issues, such as the HoloLens’s limited field of view, Dedaine says that they’re nothing to worry about.

“People make a big deal about the FOV [field of view] on the HoloLens, but once you get used to it, you don’t think about it any more,” he said.

Neither is the system’s three-hour battery life much of a worry, reckons Dedaine, as you wouldn’t want to spend any longer with the device in a single sitting.

Related: What is Microsoft HoloLens?

Indeed, Dedeine’s impressions are overwhelmingly positive. In particular, he believes that it heralds a field of immersive gaming that’s beyond VR in many ways.

“I say that there is a continent of gaming, and VR is just a new peninsula on that continent,” said Dedeine. “AR is an entirely new continent.”


Expect Microsoft to have more to say on HoloLens when the Build 2016 developer conference kicks off later today.

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