Ready to try your hand at building augmented reality apps? Microsoft will start shipping the first wave of its long-awaited HoloLens developer kits on March 30. Today is the first day to pre-order the $3,000 kits for developers who’ve already received invitations from Microsoft. (Haven’t received an invitation yet? Apply here. You must be a registered Windows Insider.)
The kit will come with a number of games and apps designed to demonstrate the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality. They include a holographic version of Skype; HoloStudio, which allows users to build their own holograms, then turn them into physical objects using a 3D printer; and HoloTour, a travel app offering virtual tours of places like Machu Picchu. ActionGram, a social-media-friendly tool for creating holographic video memes, will be available later this summer, according to Microsoft.
Besides the HoloLens headset, developers will receive a Bluetooth-enabled clicker for selecting and controlling virtual objects, a carrying case, a microfiber cloth, charger and micro-USB cable. Specs for the headset itself, per Microsoft, are below. To use the HoloLens, developers will need a Windows 10 PC able to run Visual Studio 2015 and Unity 5.4.
Microsoft also released today a set of tutorials on how to develop for HoloLens. A HoloLens emulator will be released March 30, allowing even devs who haven’t yet received the headset to start testing holographic apps on their PCs.
See-through holographic lenses
2 HD 16:9 light engines
Automatic pupillary distance calibration
Holographic Resolution: 2.3M total light points
Holographic Density: >2.5k radiants (light points per radian)
4 environment understanding cameras
1 depth camera
1 2MP photo / HD video camera
Mixed reality capture
1 ambient light sensor
Input / Output / Connectivity
Audio 3.5mm jack
Battery status LEDs
Micro-USB 2.0 cable
Intel 32 bit architecture
Custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU 1.0)
2GB RAM (2GB CPU and 1GB HPU)
2-3 hours of active use
Up to 2 weeks of standby time
Fully functional when charging