Taking a big step forward in its ambition to bring mixed reality (MR) to the masses, Microsoft has announced the availability of MR developer kits in Canada and the U.S.
For those unfamiliar with the term, mixed reality merges the real and virtual worlds in a manner that lies on the spectrum between augmented and virtual reality.
“In the future, devices will become lenses,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow and chief inventor of the Hololens headset Alex Kipman, in his keynote presentation.
Developers can pre-order the Acer headset teased at recent Microsoft events for $299 USD (about $410 CAD, since Microsoft tells MobileSyrup the pricing will match the conversion rate) or an HP-produced headset, shown below, for $329 USD (about $451 CAD), starting now for late summer delivery.
The Acer headset features inside-out tracking that scans your surroundings rather than depending on external sensors and has two LCD screens with 1440×1440 pixel resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The visor also flips up so you can return to the real world without taking it off completely. Furthermore, it features a 3.5 mm jack for audio out and mic in, and connects to a Windows 10 computer via a cable that incorporates both HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0.
In addition, the Redmond-based company revealed its first Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers with no markers required.
The controllers use the sensors in a paired headset to provide inside-out tracking that offers precise and responsive of movement in your field of view and six-degrees-of-freedom.
The controllers will work with the company’s more affordable partner headsets listed above as well as its premium Hololens AR headset.
Microsoft hopes to have the motion controllers on shelves by the 2017 holiday season. Bundled together with the Acer headset, the package costs $399 USD (about $547 CAD) and will also go on sale during the 2017 holiday.
Forthcoming devices are also expected from Dell and Lenovo, with the latter company stating its headset will be ready in time for the back-to-school shopping season. The headset features onboard cameras and sports dual 1440 x 1440 pixel OLED displays.