One of the first in a line of Windows Holographic powered immersive devices, Lenovo’s first mixed reality headset will be here in time for US “back to school”, according to Lenovo’s North America VP of Consumer Products Mike Abary.

Windows Holographic, a set of APIs integrated into Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, was first touted by the computing giant during the company’s surprise reveal of their augmented reality headset, the HoloLens. The HoloLens represented one of MS’ vision for the future of immersive computing platforms, with impressive computer vision driven inside-out tracking, a transparent augmented reality display and a completely untethered experience, the existence of HoloLens signified just how serious Microsoft were about positioning itself as ready to embrace the next computing age.

But with HoloLens, Microsoft is leaving the mainstream Windows Holographic hardware push to partner – a strategy the company has adopted for decades of course. A we detailed earlier in the year, the initial lineup for Windows Holographic hardware was announced in December of last year, with Microsoft OEM stalwarts Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo all signing on to produce VR hardware for the platform. Chinese VR headset maker 3Glasses also joined the group, and will support the Windows mixed reality environment on their S1 VR headset in the first half of 2017.

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Images courtesy Windows Central

Now it looks as if Lenovo’s mixed reality headset offering will be one of the first Windows Holographic devices to launch. Speaking to Twice, the company’s VP of Consumer Products stated that it would see a launch in time for “back to school”, according to Twice’s interpretation. This could mean the it’ll be available before mid-August and will reportedly cost less than the Oculus Rift which received an aggressive price cut just recently. This could mean that the new Lenovo headset which, like the HoloLens leverages onboard cameras  (2 in this case) to drive its inside-out tracking system, could come in as low as $300, according to an earlier report from The Verge. The headset also sports dual 1440×1440 OLED displays but, unlike the HoloLens, is a tethered device requiring a Windows 10 PC to run and also sports no similar AR-style transparent visor.

The new headset will join the company’s new ‘Legion’ PC hardware too, with the VR-capable Y720 laptop due in 2017 too.

Microsoft just last week shipped its latest milestone Windows 10 ‘Creator’s Update’ which amongst many other things included Mixed Reality support for the OS. This opens the door for the release of those partner headsets, with Lenovo seemingly positioning itself as one of the first to market.

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  • Ryan

    I don’t think Lenovo announced a StreamVR headset, you are thinking of LG.

    • Yup you are 100% correct, clearly I was having ‘one of those days’. Thanks, now fixed.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But count on them to also support SteamVR as they do also want to sell their headsets..

  • Michael Gardner

    I think you meant to say “inside-out” tracking, current headsets like Rift and Vive already use outside-in tracking.

    • VR Geek

      I thought the same thing but questioned if perhaps I had it backwards this whole time. Confirmed it should have been inside out tracking and not outside in like the ViVe and Rift.

    • You’d have thought after writing this so many times I couldn’t possibly that wrong but I did. Yes obviously it’s inside-out. Fixed. Thanks.

    • kontis

      Incorrect.

      Rift is outside-in, Vive is inside-out. Both are essentially marker-based.

      This one will be inside-out markerless, like Oculus Santa Cruz.

      • Lucidfeuer

        Nope Vive is outside-in too, otherwise you wouldn’t need lighthouses.

      • Michael Gardner

        I understand what you’re saying but I wouldn’t go as far as saying Vive is inside-out tracking. Actually really thinking about it I don’t know that it completely qualifies as either.

        • Peter Hansen

          The Vive boxes spawn laser grids – environmental markers, which are detected by the sensors on headset and controllers. The devices track themselves – inside-out.

          This is one part of the story why the lighthouse tracking is superior to the Rift tracking: the Rift uses multiple sensors the data of which has to be stitched. Hence the artifacts on the boundaries of the individual tracking angles of the Rift’s IR cameras that were reported extensively in youtube videos.

          • Michael Gardner

            From what I understand of the lighthouse system it’s not spawning a laser grid, it’s sweeping lasers across the playspace at a constant rate and the tracked devices determine pose by comparing the differences in time it takes for each photo sensor to be struck by the lasers. In that case I don’t understand how you could define what the lighthouses are doing as generating markers. When I think of markers I think of them being in fixed place in space for a camera or some similar form of sensor to use as a guidepost. For instance the constellation markers on Rift are fixed relative to the shape of the HMD. Or the original Vive room which used fiduciary markers taped to the walls that would then be tracked by camera(s?) on the headset. Or the patent filed by Oculus for an IR projector to project a fixed pattern of IR markers on the walls of a playspace that would again be picked up by a camera.

          • Peter Hansen

            I spoke in a very general way. It is not a simultaneous grid. It is kind of a grid, though, as one vertical and one horizontal laser “scan” path exist. It is not really a scan, either, as nothing is scanned in the sense of reception. The boxes emit a brief flash and then do the “scanning”, and (to my knowledge) the delay between the flash and the time when one scan path hits a particular sensor indention of a tracked object yields a one-dimensional array of possible points in space. Together with the hit from the second scan path there you have a fixed point in space. All the fixed points in space of all the sensors lucky enough to get hit by both scan paths result in (a unique) position and orientation of the complete object.

            And, of course, I also spoke in a very general way denoting the grid as markers (plural). They are not restricted to certain isolated locations. But they are restricted to (a path of) locations. The scan paths are fixed. This is an environmental property, the environment is marked. And this property gets exploited by the sensors. They detect the “marking” and, thus, localize themselves – relative to the marers/grid/scan paths, and, thus, relative to the lighthouse boxes.

            It’s inside-out.

            PS: Don’t delete my postings. Why? Because they are precise?

          • Peter Hansen

            I spoke in a very general way. It is not a simultaneous grid. It is kind of a grid, though, as one vertical and one horizontal laser “scan” path exist. It is not really a scan, either, as nothing is scanned in the sense of reception. The boxes emit a brief flash and then do the “scanning”, and (to my knowledge) the delay between the flash and the time when one scan path hits a particular sensor indention of a tracked object yields a one-dimensional array of possible points in space. Together with the hit from the second scan path there you have a fixed point in space. All the fixed points in space of all the sensors lucky enough to get hit by both scan paths result in (a unique) position and orientation of the complete object.

            And, of course, I also spoke in a very general way denoting the grid as markers (plural). They are not restricted to certain isolated locations. But they are restricted to (a path of) locations. The scan paths are fixed. This is an environmental property, the environment is marked. And this property gets exploited by the sensors. They detect the “marking” and, thus, localize themselves – relative to the markers/grid/scan paths, and, thus, relative to the lighthouse boxes.

            It’s inside-out.

            PS. Hey! Don’t delete my postings, man! Or at least tell my why! Am I wrong in any respect?!

          • Sponge Bob
          • Peter Hansen

            Ok, if this video is correct, it is even a little simpler than I thought: two angular values get derived from two momentary collisions of one sensor with a moving plane. Taken together for many sensors there is only one solution: the current position and orientation of the tracked object.

          • Peter Hansen

            I got your reply, too. Obviously, both got deleted. For whatever reason. This is pretty annoying.

            Ups, no. Yours is still there.

          • Michael Gardner

            I keep getting your reply to my reply in my email inbox but it’s not showing up in the thread below. I appreciate your more detailed response and thank you for taking the time to write it out. I understand what you’re saying and would have to agree with you now.

          • Peter Hansen

            I quickly see a “your posting is being revised by Discuss…”, and then it is gone. Never happened before.

            Good thing I am used to keeping a copy on the clipboard. *grin*

          • Peter Hansen

            Thanks for your kind words!

            Took me a while, to figure this tracking out, too.

      • Sponge Bob

        inside-out is useless for tethered headset. period.

      • Konchu

        Vive is complicated really though technically an inside out tracking as the photo sensors that do the main tracking are in the headset/wands. They have to have a outside in projection though so its both in a way. So the new headsets talked about in this article are fully self contained inside out headsets.

  • Gluve

    In theory, shouldn’t Vive and Rift work with Windows 10 AR/MR support? Meaning we don’t have to wait for Lenovo or these other manufacturers.

    • rabs

      I doubt MS will interface with SteamVR or Facebook SDK, I guess it’s up to the manufacturer to write drivers. HTC and FB don’t seem motivated, or at least nothing is announced. Maybe some third party dev will build a wrapper or something.

      Only Valve used foreign SDK, for now. Maybe they’ll make Windows Holographic devices work in SteamVR as well.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Who knows, let’s not forget the creators update for windows 10 is being shipped right now (sadly I had to deinstall the update as it locked up my computer every 10-15 minutes)..
        I do suspect both HTC and Oculus will support the holographic platform in the end, they have to..

  • Lucidfeuer

    This is the only hardware I’m excited about this year. It’s not great but at least there’s going to be a step forward in VR this year. Well I mean for the niche community there is now.

    • Sponge Bob

      I am thinking 250-300$ VR headset plus 400$ console (with all CPUs/GPUs and one external basestation) is a viable combination if it’s easy to setup in any space.
      tethered (and very light) VR headsets are not dead
      there is big future for them….

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    I like this one the best…But what about Controllers?!?!?!?

    • Sponge Bob

      thy’ll ask you to wait another year until they figure it out…

      well, you can always stick leapmotion on the front – better than nothing

      • Smokey_the_Bear

        If they don’t have good controllers, then “nothing” is exactly what I’ll be buying.

  • Armando Tavares

    Why are we so close to the launch date and there are no tests/reviews to be seen?

    At this point they should start shipping test rigs left and right (PC/Hardware/Gaming Magazines, Blogs, Youtubers, etc).