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The HoloLens 2 will soon let you interact with thin air

The feature is still in the prototype stage, sadly.

microsoft hololens 2 headset
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 has a new trick – the ability to interact with literal thin air. It’s down to a new physical interaction prototype, that uses the advanced hand tracking and eye gaze tracking inside the headset to let users physically interact with the holograms in their field of vision, and it’s insanely cool.

Think about every single time you’ve watched a sci-fi show where the characters have interacted with screens or other items that are floating in thin air, as representations of holograms that you can control with your hands.

To let you interact with non-real items, Microsoft first used hand tracking in the HoloLens device to build up virtual representations of your hands. It’s those virtual hands that interact with whatever the item is, shown here as some cubes.

While this is still in the prototype stage, Microsoft has some ideas for what they could do in future versions of the feature.

Things like throwing a virtual record album to your media player to start playback, or tossing things like blankets from an online storefront onto your couch to see if it will match your existing decor. Or new learning modules that let you push representations of celestial bodies around to teach concepts like gravity.

There could be no end of creative uses for this tech, and I can’t wait for mixed reality to become more widespread.

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