Field of View

Now here’s where I’m supposed to invent a fuzzy, imperfect metric to help sell the size of the FOV, except I shouldn’t. Before the big consumer VR push in 2016, head-mounted display manufacturers used to use these sorts of gimmicks to communicate FOV (“it’s like looking at a 200-inch screen 15 feet away!”) and I just don’t think that does it any amount of justice. So while I can’t say one way or the other whether it truly achieves the promised 52 degree diagonal field of view, or two times the FOV area than the previous HoloLens, the headset’s FOV is approaching what I’d call ‘really quite usable and not terribly annoying’ (let’s call it RQUNTA for short).

The display’s most noticeable cut-off point between the physical environment and the augmented reality view is at the display’s bottom edge; the left and right portions of the display blur somewhat as they near the periphery of the plastic outer shield. That’s not to say it takes up your entire horizontal FOV—far from it. The physical design of the headset sets a few expectations that glasses wearers will probably recognize, namely the acquired ability to only view the external world from within the confines of the frame. HoloLens 2’s field of view fills more of that already limited area in all respects over its predecessor. (Side note: glasses technically fit underneath the headset. Please clap.)

Image by Road to VR

While the bottom edge of the display was plainly visible, the top horizontal edge was much easier to ignore. The block of depth-sensing cameras and computer hardware housed in the portion of the headset above your brow creates a static visual barrier which is easier to mentally ignore, compared to the bottom of the FOV which goes right from display to air. Because HoloLens 2 doesn’t block out your real peripheral vision you can still peek out the sides and bottoms of the display, which makes more apparent that there’s a sudden edge to the augmented imagery.

On the flipside, Magic Leap seems to take purposeful advantage of this fact by limiting your full human field of view all the way around with a ‘goggles’ style form-factor which means a larger relative portion of your (physically truncated) field of view is taken up with the AR display.

That’s a long way of saying: the less optically intrusive frame of HoloLens 2 might make the field of view seem a bit smaller than that of Magic Leap, but actually the two are almost identical in size. For enterprise and industrial use-cases (which is the stated focus of HoloLens 2) the more open design is a benefit exactly because it doesn’t truncate your natural field of view as much.

Remote Collaboration & Enterprise Focus

With my first demo over, it was time to head on to my second Bentley-branded experience. Here I mostly revisited concepts I learned before like manipulating various building models and fiddling with switches, although the key take-home here was that multiple headset users could collaboratively view and interact with these models while in the same physical space. This, alongside the concept that users wouldn’t necessarily need to even be in the same country (but could virtually interact together in the same way), was HoloLen 2’s unique selling proposition that many of the other partner companies are tapping into.

SEE ALSO
Watch HoloLens 2 'Spatial' Remote Collaboration Demo from MWC 2019

Microsoft is focusing on enterprise and industry right now for good reason. At a hefty $3,500 price tag (or 28 easy monthly payments of $125), HoloLens 2 is undoubtedly outside the range of anyone but businesses looking to cut costs on the sort of highly specialized and collaborative work that would normally mean flights, hotels, and time spent using 2D viewing formats for inherently 3D work.

– – — – –

It’s more than an issue of price though. At the present moment, AR headsets—Hololens 2 included—have plenty of barriers to cross before John Q. Public will put one on and go about their daily errands. Even at an FOV approaching an acceptable size, the augmented reality headsets of today are best used in rooms that have been pre-mapped and are ready to serve up the sort localized content that will keep you indoors and close to a wall charger (and WiFi) where the headset feels most at home.

While we’ve yet to approach the true promise of all-day, on-the-go AR in this product cycle, well-funded companies like Microsoft are investing into these early steps because there’s a fairly clear case for a immediate return on investment in the enterprise space, while beginning down a path of proliferating the Windows platform onto AR products and platforms that eventually wind up in the hands of consumers too.

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  • dk

    this is a cool video of the hand tracking types of interactions https://twitter.com/HoloLens/status/1099722767941783552

  • That’sright

    They claimed 2 times fov which is a lie rover still small at around 50° half that of oculus rift binocular fov

    • dk
    • JPRacer77Qc

      That’s not a lie and AR != VR.

    • Jim Cherry

      did you know a 4k tv has 4x the pixels of a 2k tv. Math is hard. You can double the fov without doubling the degrees of the fov.

      • That’sright

        The first halolens is 35° Fov and halolens 2 is 50 degree, so if it was 2 times the fov it 70° they only add another 15° however while still a very small window we should be able to see full pictures instead of half of a picture. Before you would look at a image of like say a person and half of the person would be missing due to the tiny heads up fov.

        • Jim Cherry

          Did you even look at the previous comments the math is right there 2x the fov area. If you want double 35 then you must first understand where the 35 came from.

  • Darshan

    “Microsoft are investing into these early steps because there’s a fairly clear case for a immediate return on investment in the enterprise space, while beginning down a path of proliferating the Windows platform onto AR products and platforms that eventually wind up in the hands of consumers too.”

    Is what really need to be done now, establishing new medium, increase the interest and acceptance level , expand reach in real world and then make people to coming back for more, proven strategy and worked in many fields in reality

    I do believe like FB showcased down the path there will be single device with light shield or opaque turning LCD casing which convert AR headset in to VR one and VR headset in to AR one, something that is having power like Snapdragon 855 studded Oculus Quest with awsome tracking and fully tracked controller coupled with finger sensing of Hololense 2 and bettery life of 3/4 hours will be a future cross between two technology.. Future is exciting..

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  • Ian Shook

    Good write-up and it looks like MS achieved exactly what they set out to. It’s a clear V2.0 and it will only get better from here. I think this time around though – even this small company I work for won’t get a Hololens due to the price and it isn’t instantly usable in our particular industry.

  • MosBen

    As much as I’d be super happy if something like the Hololens 2 was available at consumer prices, I’m more happy to see that there was some really significant improvement from one generation to the next. Hopefully this just means that in the next generation we’ll see something like the Hololens 2, with maybe a few slight improvements, coming down below $1,000, which would be pretty exciting.

    • Jim Cherry

      Personally I hope they just bring some of these advancements to wmr. Ms is less of a consumer focused company now days and would probably fail with a consumer product.

  • ScottF

    Great summary with lots of excellent user details! We’ve read about 2k per eye and 47 pixels per degree but what are the “pixel resolutions of each display”? The original HoloLens was 1280.x 720 pixels for each display = 2,560 x 720. The HoloLens 2 CHANGES the display ration to 3:2 so what is the HoloLens 2 resolution?

    Oh yes, Magic Leap is reportedly – we don’t have one currently – is only 1280 x 960 per eye = probably way below the HoloLens 2 at 2k per eye?

  • Very interesting and detailed hands-on, thanks for sharing!

  • fuyou2

    TOO EXPENSIVE!!!

    • Jim Cherry

      I think that was the plan price it higher than your average consumer is willing to pay so that they can sell all the units to enterprises that sign multimillion dollar contracts.

  • gothicvillas

    Looking good to have first consumer version by 2025

  • wcalderini

    So. Um…yeah. Hi-jacking a thread. The site is my daily go-to for VR, and I’m heavily invested in the hobby. Since there are no forums. (Now THAT would be a good idea), I guess I’ll just post here. Since I’m in the cultural wasteland of Birmingham AL, and nobody shares either my hobby or enthusiasm for VR, I’m just busting to tell someone, anyone, who would realize the significance of what just happened.

    My Pimax 5k Plus arrived.
    Pre-Ordered on November 1st. Arrived February 26th.
    So they do exist, and they seem to finally be making their way out to the non-elite.
    Have not even opened the cardboard yet. But just wanted to share.

    Hope my I-7 4790, 32GB Ram, and 1080ti can keep up with the awesomeness.
    But we really DO need a forum around here as I’m sure the public could help each other out as far as asking and answering experienced questions.

    Like If I was going to replace anything in my current set-up, what would it be?
    The processor MB Ram. The graphics card? (Most definitely).
    But just wondering what would make the most sense.The Radeon 7 with its 16GB of HMB2 and 1TB memory bandwidth, or the 2080TI?

    Where is the bigger bottleneck.
    Post here infrequently.
    Just HAD to get it out of my system.
    Thanks.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ed3e52e128e2d29f45ba9eab90613df22b4ed5bf696664c9ef9f624e9ce15f7c.jpg

    • mcnbns

      Reddit r/vive and r/vive_vr

      • wcalderini

        Thank you. I will check it out. Have never actually been on Reddit. But I’ve heard stories.

  • oompah

    Simply awesome
    The best VR Headset ever & it looks great too
    ITS WAVEGUIDE OPTICS ,
    the tech of the future now.
    I can buy this on monthly installments
    Its the beginning of a new revolution since
    PC on every desktop

  • thewebdood

    Great write-up Scott!

  • flip

    How about providing prescription lenses to this, as half of the world population requires prescription… 3D printed lenses would be great to look into.

    • Adam Tuliper

      Wear glasses with the unit. No need for additional lenses.