Consumer Technology

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft HoloLens is the first, self-contained, fully untethered holographic computer. Powered by Windows 10, it gives the user a whole new way to see the world on an unprecedented platform for possibility,” describes Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Microsoft.

HoloLens scored Best in Show—and Gold in Consumer Technology—in IDSA’s International Design Excellence Awards 2017. “Microsoft has been on a decades-long journey to make computing more personal and this is a logical extension of that path,” says Kipman. “Bringing computing into the three-dimensional world in which humans have always existed, is the next step in making computing truly more personal.”

HoloLens puts holograms directly into a physical environment, creating an immersive experience without blocking out the real world. It embeds holographic content and applications into physical surroundings to see, place and interact with as if the holograms are part of the physical world.

Through its hardware and software technologies, HoloLens creates enormous possibilities for people around the world to work, create and communicate. Instead of being mediated by screens, HoloLens creates a sense of immediacy, connection and interaction.

“The potential for mixed reality is limitless,” says Kipman. “Microsoft HoloLens is already a revolutionary tool—transforming how companies, designers and creators harness the power of holographic computing.”

A gamer using HoloLens can fight robots that are breaking through the gamer’s actual living room walls, dodging very real-looking lasers. An architect or illustrator using HoloLens can design in 3D, moving objects from the screen into the real world to visualize and examine. A professor or student can get up close and personal with an area of study, strolling through rock formations on Mars or examining a holographic cross-section of a beating human heart.

The HoloLens team had a vision of something completely new: a vivid, immersive computing experience that seamlessly integrates technology into the user’s world—but doesn’t isolate from reality. This vision came with many challenges. Realistic and uninterrupted interactive experiences had to be ensured. Holograms must be accurately positioned—with no lag in the customer’s surrounding environment. The device needed to be elegantly designed and comfortable to wear. And it had to be untethered so users could move freely through their surroundings.

Microsoft industrial designers sought to couple next generation computing and approachable design. HoloLens hides tremendous complexity in a sleek package. The spherical visor conceals a system of sensors that uses infrared light to track hand gestures and the environment dimensionally. Behind the visor lies more computing power than that of an average laptop—along with microphones, advanced optics and a custom holographic processing unit.  

HoloLens is lightweight and adaptable to the infinite variety of human heads. The team conducted 3D scans of 100 different craniums; as a result, the headband is comfortable. The device’s weight is balanced around the crown of the head to remove pressure from the ears and the bridge of the nose. To allow for use with glasses, the optics can be moved away from the face, thanks to a hidden timing mechanism in the headband that ensures symmetrical adjustment.  

HoloLens uses spatial sound designed around how the human ear synthesizes sounds and locations, so the user can not only see but also hear holograms from anywhere in the room. Highly stable image placement allows for immersive use—without the nausea typically associated with augmented and virtual reality systems.

The team believed industrial design should not be guided solely by aesthetics alone. It worked to balance competing needs to architect a form factor that is simple, intuitive and ultimately disappears. As a result—immersive audio and visuals; speech and gesture capabilities; and the power of Windows 10 work together to create an unprecedented platform for possibility.

Designed by: Microsoft Device Design Team

Contact: nidenhez@microsoft.com | https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens

Mi MIX

Mi MIX is an all-ceramic smartphone with an edgeless screen that delivers a clean, pure, elegant image, inspiring new usage modes like "transparent shooting." The active area of the phone covers 91.3 percent of the front face with a rescaled display ratio of 17:9 and an enlarged radius of the four corners. The phone features a concealed ceramic earpiece speaker and ultrasonic distance sensor. The all-ceramic body is smooth and warm, manifesting a jade-like tactility that's very difficult to scratch. 

Designed by: De Liu, Hang Liu, YanLin Xiao and He Shan of the MI Phone Industrial Design Dept. and Philippe Starck for Xiaomi Communications Co., Ltd.

Contact: liuhang@xiaomi.com | http://www.mi.com/en/mix/#section1

Logitech K780: Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

With the K780, Logitech has redefined the scope of the wireless keyboard into a useful companion for all inputting needs. Whether used with a smartphone, tablet or PC, the K780 delivers comfortable silent typing—switching easily between devices. The integrated rubber cradle allows the user to hold a mobile device at an optimum angle.

Designed by: Feiz Design Studio and Logitech Design

Contact: info@feizdesign.com | www.feizdesign.com

Google Home

Google Home is a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own Google, always ready to help. Just start with, "Ok Google." Enjoy music, get answers straight from Google, manage everyday tasks and easily control smart devices around the home. With customizable bases and thoughtful design, it complements any home. Plus, as new features roll out, they’re automatically added.

Designed by: Jung Tak, Kristen Beck, Amy Martin, Michael Sundermeyer and the Google Design Team

Contact: ammartin@google.com

Daydream View

Daydream View is a headset and motion controller for experiencing high-quality immersive virtual reality. Simply place a Daydream-ready phone into the lightweight, durable headset, which is made from multiple layers of soft, breathable fabric and foam to keep the user comfortable. The headset fits over most eyeglasses. The way the headset is made reduces weight and keeps the amount of hard plastic parts to a minimum. Engineered and designed for comfort, the soft form-fitted face pad rests gently on the face and is hand washable. 

Designed by: Google

Contact: ptdang@google.com | https://vr.google.com/daydream/headset/

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