Starting today, developers who showed interest in getting in on the ground floor of holographic computing will be invited to purchase Microsoft HoloLens developer kits and start creating software for the company’s upcoming computing platform.
Microsoft first introduced HoloLens a little over a year ago. The company has shown several previews of the hardware, and it previously announced that developer kits would cost an eye-watering $3000, but the hardware wasn’t really available to developers. The HoloLens project was limited to select partners, such as Volvo Cars, Autodesk Fusion 360and NASA, but starting today, developers with interest in HoloLens will begin receiving invites from Microsoft to purchase HoloLens Developer Edition kits.
Developers that order HoloLens developer kits will receive an untethered headset that houses a computer inside. Microsoft said that HoloLens “enables holographic computing natively with no markers, no external cameras, no wires, no phone required, and no connection to a PC needed.”
Microsoft said the HoloLens headset is powered by a custom built chip called a Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU). The company said the HPU handles data coming from “multiple environment understanding sensors” to interpret your gestures, gaze and voice inputs. The HoloLens also has built-in cameras that Microsoft said enable you to record video and take images of holograms over the real world.
HoloLens runs Windows 10 natively and supports Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform apps. The company said that any UWP app can be made work on Windows Holographic, and that monetization is supported the same way as it is on other platforms. Microsoft said that developers who purchase a HoloLens Developer Edition will have access to “hundreds of UWP apps,” including Microsoft Office apps, OneDrive and Maps, as well as TV, movies and music. The company said there is also a showcase of holographic content meant to show off the capabilities of HoloLens.
Microsoft will be shipping the first orders starting on March 30. If you are a developer interested in working with HoloLens, Microsoft encourages you to sign up here if you haven’t already done so.
Microsoft said you don’t have to wait for the hardware to arrive to start working on your project. The company said there are guides and tutorials available at dev.windows.com/holographic, and when the HoloLens kits start to ship, Microsoft will release a HoloLens emulator that will let developers test holographic apps without the need for the headset.