Enlarge / Increasingly, businesses are adding this ol’ thing to their workflow. (credit: Luka Kojima St-Laurent / Finger Food)
It’s been roughly two years since Microsoft unveiled its augmented/mixed reality (AR/MR) HoloLens headset and about one year since the first publicly available dev kits went on sale.

But ever since launching this impressive piece of tech, Microsoft has instead seemed content with letting Virtual Reality (VR) take the limelight.

Take its recent Creators Update presentation in October as an example. Microsoft revealed tons of upcoming 3D functionality to benefit both VR and AR, but the headlines came when the company announced hardware OEMs like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer would be making VR headsets of their own with Microsoft software powering the experience.
Throughout HoloLens’ short existence, Microsoft has repeatedly emphasized how this product, still a first-generation device, was simply not yet consumer-ready.
In these first two years of HoloLens public awareness, Microsoft would only focus on building partnerships and use cases that showcased the business and enterprise applications for this new augmented/mixed reality platform.
The terms AR and MR are often applied interchangeably, but MR is used most often by Microsoft when describing the HoloLens technology. No matter what you want to call it, this approach has several practical advantages compared to VR. Not only is it much less likely to trigger the type of discomfort associated with so-called “simulator sickness,” but the ability to overlay holographic elements onto real-world environments makes the HoloLens particularly suited to training and education applications, for example.
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