The market for all three technologies is expected to boom over the coming years, with numerous companies all releasing their own versions of the headsets to try and tap into this expanding industry. Now as with any new technology, headsets will initially be expensive, and almost exclusively the property of developers and the ultra-rich. But as more people get involved, and competition grows, the headsets will undoubtedly become more affordable.
One of the most talked about uses for the technology has been its applications in the healthcare sector, from training to surgery. Bones, organs and arteries can all be displayed via virtual reality, and some universities have decided to entirely replace traditional, cadaver based teaching methods with virtual reality. Even before surgery begins, doctors may be able to make use of things like the HoloLens in the pre planning phase of the operation. Mapping out the entire surgery in virtual reality, and being able to visualise the consequences of every movement, could be on the horizon. And even in the operating theatre, some companies have already developed technology which is designed to increase the speed and precision of the surgeons when doing complex procedures.
The devices, as they are in the early stages, are unusually heavy, and may well require some adjustment to compensate, although this is relatively easy to do. In the future we can expect to see more streamlined examples. The HoloLens is generally user friendly, especially with its Cortana integration – Microsoft’s digital assistant, and has decent battery life, but isn’t yet robust enough to be used in some other industries outside medicine, like construction, for example.
Generally, the potential for the technology is immense, but the headsets are not yet streamlined enough to be widely used by surgeons, and not tough enough to be implemented in other industries. But given the widely accepted level of promise, and the inevitable investment to follow, we can expect this to be rectified in the near future.