NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The robots invading the room aren’t actually there.

Unless you’re wearing a Microsoft HoloLens.

As CBS2’s Brook Silva-Braga reported, Microsoft calls it “mixed reality” — the headset maps its environment and lets you add 3-D images.

“In virtual reality, you’re essentially cut off from the real world,” said Ben Reed, the director of HoloLens. “With HoloLens, which is an example of mixed-reality technology, you can see the real world, and we are mixing digital assets — holograms in this case — on top of the real world.”

Reed filled a hotel room for CBS2 with examples of the technology’s promise.

“You can turn any wall in your house into a big screen TV,” he said.

But you can’t buy HoloLens for the next couple years. The $3,000 headset is only available to software developers. Microsoft hopes they’ll help retailers map out their stores, automakers design vehicles and medical students learn anatomy.

Microsoft reportedly expects to sell 80 million mixed-reality devices by 2020.

Similar technology is already driving Google’s Tango. It will be available on Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro phones this September. Earlier this month, the company showed how it can help you redesign a room with the touch of a finger.

It’s a glimpse of a virtual future that’s becoming increasingly real.


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