Microsoft HoloLens 'Project XRay' Demo Stuns Onlookers With Mixed Reality Game Play

Microsoft held a massive event Tuesday in New York City at which the company unveiled a number of new devices, including the hot Surface Pro 4, new Lumia-branded Windows 10 smartphones with Continuum, and the surprise no one saw coming, the slick Surface Book hybrid laptop. But before any of those new devices were actually shown, Microsoft demoed some exciting new HoloLens mixed-reality technology, dubbed Project X-Ray, that allowed a gamer – named Dan -- to battle holographic robots right on stage, live.

During the demo, Dan “held” a holographic gauntlet gun that he used to fire lasers and blast robots as they hovered in the air or broke through the makeshift walls. Live at the event, onlookers could see what Dan was seeing in his HoloLens augmented reality lenses up on the big screens and the effects and interactions were impressive.

Microsoft HoloLens Stage

Live Event Demo Footage of Microsoft HoloLens Project XRay

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"Mixed-Reality" is an interesting concept technology that not only allows the participant to interact with holograms, but also have that experience in the real, physical world. It's essentially augmented reality but mixed with augmented virtuality as well. In a nutshell, elements of the physical real world are blended with projected holograms, and the user can interact with everything as well. The results are stunning and impressive to see and if you caught the live webcast today, you could have seen the effects played out on camera as well.

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After years of development, Microsoft unveiled what we now know as HoloLens earlier this year. If you’re unfamiliar with HoloLens, it’s basically a self-contained, Windows 10 computer that a user wears like glasses, outfitted with a number of advanced sensors, an HD / 3D optical head-mounted display with holographic lenses, and built-in sound. The goal with HoloLens is to enable a whole new ecosystem of augmented reality applications and to provide a new means to interact with computers.

HoloLens Project Glasses

Microsoft also revealed at the event that its HoloLens Developer Kit would be available in Q1 2016. The company plans to engage with developers worldwide to leverage the technology. The development kit will cost $3000 initially, and enable developers to experiment with and build applications for Augmented and Mixed Reality and the HoloLens platform, but no official word yet on when Microsoft plans productize Hololens.