Microsoft's HoloLens has a surprising heat problem

Microsoft HoloLens holo studioMicrosoft‘Holo Studio,’ an app for Microsoft HoloLens.

The Microsoft HoloLens holographic goggles may not be comfortable to wear for long periods of time, warns game developer
David Dedeine in an interview with PC World.
Just like how your laptop may get too hot for your bare skin if you use it long enough, the HoloLens has a processor that can heat up during use, warns Dedeine.

HoloLens is what you call “augmented reality” — a headset that overlays three-dimensional images over the real world.

And unlike virtual reality headsets like the just-released Oculus Rift, the HoloLens is a self-contained device that doesn’t need to be connected to a PC to work.

Which means that the 1.25-pound-ish HoloLens is pressed right up against your noggin, processor and all.

For developers like Dedeine, who’s building introductory HoloLens games “Young Conker” and “Figments,” it’s another consideration when building for HoloLens. Not only do you have to manage an app’s battery consumption, but also the strain it puts on the processor.

“Even more important, its heat — to not make the whole thing get too hot, as it would be uncomfortable to the user,” Dedeine tells PC World.

Indeed, he says, if the HoloLens gets too hot, it will automatically shut down the offending app to protect the user.

Granted, the HoloLens is still in version 1, with only a very limited $3,000 edition going out to developers this week. But comfort is something that Microsoft and its developers are going to have to take into account while building out the future of augmented reality.

That said, Dedeine says it’s not the kind of device that people might wear for hours on end, rather using it for a few minutes or hours at a time, meaning that the discomfort won’t have time to get too bad. That’s also why he’s not concerned about the HoloLens’ three-hour battery life.

Also of note, Dedeine downplayed the disappointing restrictions of the HoloLens’ primary viewing area, which can only project holograms in a small rectangle in front of you.

HoloLensMicrosoftThe highlighted area shows roughly how much of your vision the HoloLens’ holograms actually take up.

He says that it’s like the original iPhone’s screen: It may not be what you want right now, but still something important that launched a whole category.

Microsoft wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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