Here’s the secret behind the HoloLens’ impressive featureset

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

HoloLens is Microsoft’s first holographic computer and an impressive piece of engineering. This VR headset puts holograms into the real world, bringing science fiction one step closer to reality, or “Science fiction to science fact” as Microsoft explains.

How does HoloLens manage to perform such complex tasks? This question has been on everybody’s minds ever since Microsoft introduced this amazing VR headset and thanks to recent reports, we can now answer this question and tell you the secrets behind the HoloLens’ processing power.

It all starts with its Holographic Processing Unit, a special chip that allows the device to process all the data sent by its sensors and then modulate it so that its Atom CPU can process it. The HPU relies on 8MB of SRAM and 1GB of DDR3 RAM to process up to a trillion instructions per second.

Its Intel Atom x86 Cherry Trail processor has 1GB of RAM and runs Windows 10. Microsoft didn’t want to use a traditional CPU and preferred to use a customized CPU design which offers better hardware acceleration and programmable elements.

As far as the optical system is concerned, HoloLens is a passthrough device. Regular VR headsets use OLED displays to produce visuals. The image is projected in front of your eyes, and you view it through glass lenses. Thanks to this technology, users can see both the real world and the holograms projected in front of them.

Microsoft also applied a surface coating on the lenses which allows it to create a series of defraction gratings. In this manner, a user’s eyes can perceive the hologram as being stable to avoid nausea.

HoloLens is an impressive piece of technology, but not everyone can afford to purchase this VR headset: HoloLens has a price tag of $3,000 in the Windows Store.

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