Microsoft Research Reveals New, Slimmed Down AR Glasses

by Joe Durbin • May 23rd, 2017

The Microsoft Research Team revealed  a new pair of augmented reality glasses today that offer an exciting form factor, even if their performance isn’t up to snuff.

The new lenses were made known to the world in a research paper titled Holographic Near-Eye Displays for Virtual and Augmented Reality penned by Microsoft’s Andrew MaimoneAndreas Georgio and Joel Kollin. Their findings were published in the ACM Transactions on Graphics journal.

What’s described in the paper are “novel designs for virtual and augmented reality near-eye displays based on phase-only holographic projection.”

The researchers methodology here is “built on the principles of Fresnel holography and double phase amplitude encoding with additional hardware, phase correction factors, and spatial light modulator encodings to achieve full color, high contrast and low noise holograms with high resolution and true per-pixel focal control.”

Read the full research paper

All of this technobabble is merely to say that what we have here is the first ever augmented reality headset prototype to be shown off from Microsoft since its industry-leading HoloLens design. The big difference between this prototype and the HoloLens is the form factor. The new model looks much more similar to a pair of standard glasses that a regular person could comfortably wear on a daily basis. However, the trade off for that sleek design is a steep drop off in performance.

The HoloLens is able to track the movements of its user’s head as well as his or her position in space. It is also completely wireless and runs on battery power while projecting stereoscopic 3D images to each of your eyes.

This prototype, however, is only capable of flat, monoscopic images and needs to be tethered to a powerful external processor in order to run, according to the paper.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” the paper reads. “We show various capabilities of near-eye holographic displays (wide field of view, compact form factors, multi-focus, etc.) but we have not yet achieved all these capabilities in a single device.”

The research team will be discussing their work in greater detail during a panel in August at this year’s SIGGRAPH convention in Los Angeles.

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  • Walextheone

    Even thoose 1st gen stuff are pretty cool. In 5-6 years we will have amazing stuff

  • Misdirection much, Microsoft.

  • NooYawker

    I think get the thing running then work on slimming and minimizing.

  • Jack H

    It isn’t a pair of AR glasses, it’s just the LCOS engine component.

  • daveinpublic

    Do they really need to write a research paper to show us something that everyone is already working on? And that isn’t that far along?

    • NooYawker

      Who’s working on it? There’s a lot of talk about people working on it but only MS is providing actual progress and results.

  • Ted Joseph

    I am excited for what the next few years are going to bring us. I have a Rift, and I am having a blast in VR, but I am truly excited about AR. I would like a basic pair of reading or sunglasses with all the power of my mobile phone. Vuzix is working on releasing a pair this year called the Vuzix 3000. Hoping microsoft, apple, and google release a similar pair as well.

  • Google Glass, Microsoft edition?

    • Jim Cherry

      not likely microsoft research doesnt have a good record when it comes to making concepts into shipping products

      • TimothyStone

        I mean we have Kinect which made it and cloud compute has made it (Crackdown 3) as well as Cortana.

        • Jim Cherry

          2 of your examples did not come out of Microsoft research Kinect came from an Israeli firm that ms later paid for the patents. And Cortana voice assistant came from Bing. I would be more optimistic if this info came directly from the holographic/mr team and not ms research

          • TimothyStone

            Well, the Kinect chip no, that came from the Israeli firm, but the tech to be able to read your skeleton came from Microsoft Research. Cortana Voice assistant was research that they were working on for voice recognition tech made for Bing but came from Microsoft Research.

  • Rick

    There is just something about having all of those V.R. frequencies ,infrared electromagnetic radiation so close to my brain doesn’t sit well with me.