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Microsoft announces Windows Holographic with HoloLens headset

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"We're not talking about putting you into virtual worlds. We're dreaming beyond virtual worlds."

Microsoft has just revealed its next great innovation: Windows Holographic. It's an augmented reality experience that employs a headset, much like all the VR goggles that are currently rising in popularity, but Microsoft's solution adds holograms to the world around you. The HoloLens headset is described as "the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen." It's a self-contained computer, including a CPU, a GPU, and a dedicated holographic processor. The dark visor up front contains a see-through display, there's spatial sound so you can "hear" holograms behind you, and HoloLens also integrates a set of motion and environmental sensors.

No wires or PC required, it's a self-contained hologram generator

Though still early in its development, HoloLens will be made available "in the Windows 10 timeframe" and, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, it will be priced "for both enterprise and consumers to use it." Microsoft has already shown HoloLens to at least one games publisher, with Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick describing the experience as "extraordinary."

The demonstration of HoloLens presents a highly ambitious vision of future computing and entertainment. Playing Minecraft atop the landscape of your living room, taking a tour of the Martian surface, or walking clients through your latest architectural masterpiece — it's all made possible with the HoloLens. Alex Kipman, the man responsible for this project at Microsoft, says Windows Holographic is not so much about "putting you into virtual worlds," which may not be for everyone, but to move beyond them, offering deeper experiences and, well, holograms!

Kipman notes that Microsoft collaborated with NASA while developing the HoloLens and encourages other companies like Magic Leap and Oculus to make a start on creating their own holograms. The biggest distinguishing feature of HoloLens, though, may be its self-sufficiency: there are no wires and no need for a connection to a PC or a phone.

Read next: Up close with the HoloLens, Microsoft's most intriguing product in years

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