Mixed Reality

HoloLens 3 Rumors

Elisabeth Balistreri
Oct 10, 2023

Microsoft VP Scott Evans hints at a meaningful update to the HoloLens headset. Also, Teams is now integrated into HoloLens 2.

Microsoft VP Suggests HoloLens 3 Update

Teams Integration For HoloLens 2

Microsoft is now integrating Microsoft Teams fully into its mixed reality headset, HoloLens 2. This will enable users to make calls, view contacts and calendars, and join group meetings directly from the headset. Additionally, users can now view shared screens as holograms, and access text chat, images, and PDFs during calls, with OneDrive integration powering file sharing and viewing.

In the past, Microsoft Remote Assist 365 has been primarily used on the HoloLens 2 for remote assistance scenarios, designed for an engineer or support person to dial into a meeting or call and be guided through a problem. With the new integration, Teams users on desktop or mobile will be able to see the HoloLens 2 video feed from the viewpoint of the person wearing the headset, similar to a GoPro recording the outside world on a helmet. 

Microsoft has also integrated other tools such as Dynamics 365 Guides for on-the-job training into the HoloLens 2, to make it more adaptable to hybrid work scenarios. Users can also now use text chat during calls, and access images or PDFs shared in a call as holograms. The company's goal is to make the HoloLens 2 more powerful in terms of communication and collaboration.

HoloLens 3 Rumors

There have been reports suggesting that Microsoft may have discontinued the development of a HoloLens 3, raising questions about the future of the headset. However, these reports were denied by Alex Kipman, the co-creator of the HoloLens, before he left Microsoft. Additionally, the new head of mixed reality at Microsoft, has recently indicated that the company is still working on a new version of the HoloLens. 

In a recent blog post on Microsoft’s website, Scott Evans, Microsoft’s VP of mixed reality is quoted as saying, “We’re just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update. They want a successor device that’s going to enable an even higher return on investment,”. In that post it also states that Microsoft is “pushing forward on all core hardware technologies: displays, tracking, sensors, and battery life”. 

It is only a matter of time before we get a glimpse of the new HoloLens 3. With the looming speculation regarding Apple’s new MR headset being announced this year; we expect Microsoft to follow up with an announcement regarding the newest version of HoloLens sometime in 2024.

New HoloLens 3 Patent

Microsoft's HoloLens 3 has remained a topic of intrigue. Initially, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of HoloLens 3 and disbanded the team behind its development. However, recent developments suggest a potential resurgence of interest in this cutting-edge technology.

One noteworthy development is the emergence of a patent from the World Intellectual Property Organization's Patentscope division. This patent closely mirrors the design elements associated with HoloLens, although it goes by the codename WO2023075953 – Modular Head Mounted Device. The patent outlines a VR/AR headset with a standard interface that seamlessly connects to various devices and fit systems, such as headbands, VR headsets, glasses temples, and helmets.

If this patent indeed offers a glimpse into the features of HoloLens 3, it indicates a significant leap forward in terms of user-friendliness compared to its predecessors. Moreover, it appears to be designed with versatility in mind, allowing it to integrate seamlessly with an array of system configurations. The patent even hints at compatibility with smartphones, smartwatches, tablet computing devices, specialized hardware, and network appliances. This resurgence in HoloLens 3 development underscores Microsoft's commitment to advancing the world of mixed reality and keeping pace with competitors in the field.

Microsoft Hot-Swappable Battery Design

Released on October 5, 2023, the patent unveils AR glasses boasting a modular structure. That's right, a unique modular setup that includes a hot-swappable battery, which can be positioned either in the temple area or within a removable earpiece. This design allows users to swap out the battery while on the move, ensuring the glasses are always ready for prolonged usage. Picture yourself on an extended flight, free from concerns about your AR glasses depleting their charge.

Microsoft's Innovative Vision

Moreover, the flexibility in battery placement—whether in the temple section or a removable earpiece—gives wearers the choice to use the glasses sans battery. This feature can lighten the device, making it less cumbersome and guaranteeing comfort during extended periods of wear.

The patent further discloses the glasses' capability to link with external gadgets such as necklaces or backpacks. This introduces intriguing potential. Consider the prospects of amplifying the device's processing and storage capabilities or even integrating additional features like Wi-Fi or LiFi connectivity. It's akin to having a compact workstation draped around your neck, waist, or back.

Microsoft's vision appears to cater to the needs of the remote workforce, offering not just a connectivity tool but also unmatched adaptability. These AR glasses could revolutionize our perception of remote working, presenting a more immersive and productive approach to virtual workspaces. Should Microsoft successfully execute this vision, the glasses could very well become the essential tool for the contemporary remote professional.