Menu
Microsoft is building a better HoloLens with a new chip focused on machine learning

Microsoft is building a better HoloLens with a new chip focused on machine learning

HoloLens can already see objects, but machine learning could help it identify and interact with them

Microsoft HoloLens and Volvo cars

Microsoft HoloLens and Volvo cars

Microsoft’s HoloLens may have largely faded from public view, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s halted development on it.

On Sunday, Microsoft researchers disclosed that HoloLens development is moving ahead, with a new chip that emphasises machine learning.

Specifically, Redmond said the next generation of its Holographic Processing Unit, or HPU, will support Deep Neural Network processing, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, or AI. The AI in question isn’t necessarily Cortana, but simply the way that the HoloLens recognises the real world.

Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, recently showed off the second version of the HPU. The chip, designed by Microsoft, will be totally programmable, the company said.

Microsoft’s HPU is one of the signature features of the HoloLens, responsible for procesing all the information coming from the device’s sensors, including the movement-tracking sensor, the time-of-flight sensor, the inertial measurement unit, and the infrared camera.

Another key aspect is that it's totally self-contained. Because the HoloLens is untethered, it can’t depend on a PC for its processing power. The HPU is its brains. 

What this new HPU will actually recognise is not quite clear. Microsoft’s current HPU—and by extension, HoloLens—does a nice job of recognising surfaces and edges and projecting virtual objects on top of them.

Whether Microsoft can begin to interpret what those real-world objects are remains to be seen.

Why this matters: We still don't know whether HoloLens ever make it into the mass market, or remain a sort of semi-shadowy tech for specialised businesses.

Microsoft hasn’t said when the next-generation HPU will ship, nor whether entirely new HoloLens will be built around it. What does seem to be happening, though, is that companies are beginning to rethink augmented reality.

Google basically buried Google Glass for several years, then recently resurfaced it as a business tool—the same market Microsoft originally targeted with the HoloLens, incidentally.

This article originally appeared on PC World.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftGoogleaugmented realityGoogle Glassvirtual realityMicrosoft Hololens

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners

Reseller News honoured the industry’s finest on a standout evening for the New Zealand channel, recognising the achievements of established partners, emerging players and innovative start-ups, in front of over 460 technology leaders in Auckland.

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners
Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018

Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018

More than 460 channel leaders came together to toast the top performers of the New Zealand industry, during the opening Champagne Reception at the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018 - in association with Techbuyer.

Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018
Chasing innovation: how Kiwi partners can create a new customer agenda

Chasing innovation: how Kiwi partners can create a new customer agenda

This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Rhipe and Microsoft - detailed a blueprint for customer success, outlining the new role of the modern-day partner and wider network in New Zealand.

Chasing innovation: how Kiwi partners can create a new customer agenda
Show Comments