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In a new invention by Microsoft Corp, it has surprised the tech world with a prototype hologram visor that can bring the Minecraft video game, Skype calls and even the landscape of Mars to three-dimensional life.
The move is considered a bold play to regain that title in the face of stiff competition from Google Inc and Apple Inc. It may be noted that virtual or enhanced reality is the next frontier in computing interaction, with Facebook Inc focusing on its Oculus virtual reality headset and Google working on its Glass project.
The company said, its wire-free Microsoft HoloLens device will be available around the same time as Windows 10 this autumn. Industry analysts were broadly excited at the prospect, but were also skeptical that it could produce a working model at a mass-market price that soon.
It is well-known that Microsoft does not have a stellar record of bringing ground-breaking technology to life. Its Kinect motion-sensing game device caused an initial stir but never gripped the popular imagination.
The company showed off a crude test version of the visor — essentially jerry-rigged wires and cameras pulled over the head — to reporters and industry analysts at a gathering at its headquarters near Seattle. It did not allow any photographs or video of the experience, but put some images on its website.
The company has been working on the top-secret project for a few years, and showed off a number of scenarios: manipulating virtual objects that can be sent to a 3D printer, creating a Minecraft-like game environment in a room and letting users point to objects on the other end of the line in a Skype video call.
Most realistically, it demonstrated a lifelike panorama of the surface of Mars gathered from NASA’s Curiosity Rover. NASA has already been working with Microsoft to develop software called OnSight, which will allow scientists on earth to virtually explore and plan experiments on Mars.