When Microsoft first introduced Hololens it generated massive excitement, with it’s promise of real, immersive virtual 3D graphics that could overlay the real world. Demos with Minecraft in your living room, the Weather on your breakfast bar and walking on Mars wowed us with the potential of this technology.
Unfortunately, the reviews of the near finished hardware cropping up all over the web have pointed out the potentially disastrous limitation it has when it comes to being a genuinely immersive experience, an inadequate field of view.
Human beings have a field of view of nearly 180 degrees horizontally and 135 degrees vertically, even when we are not looking straight at something we can see it in our peripheral vision and this gives us an overall view of the world around us that would be severely limited, literally blinkered, if we could only see what was in front of us.
The original development hardware, shown to interested parties at the Launch event in January had a much more impressive field of view, but the latest hardware used in demos at E3 has been described as a wonderful world of 3D interaction going on in your lounge while you stand outside the front door peering through the letterbox.
Largely this problem is due to bandwidth. The original units were wired, which obviously limits freedom of movement, but allows for more data to be pushed to the display, giving you a larger picture that fills more of vision. Add any form of wireless connection as the new units do and to maintain the image quality and the immersive experience the amount of pixels pushed has to drop, in the same way as you may need to drop YouTube quality settings when watching a video over spotty wifi.
But the problem is the smaller screen breaks immersion just as much as laggy graphics. That Motocycle on the desk in the above video won’t look anywhere near as good if I have to keep turning my head or backing away to get it all in view. Immersion is the point of VR, failure at immersion renders a VR product useless. Unless Microsoft can up their game before final release, they may have a costly and embarrassing failure on their hands.
Source: The Verge