Next Microsoft HoloLens device will feature AI and deep learning capabilities

In its next version of its wearable self-contained, holographic computer known as the HoloLens, Microsoft will incorporate an artificial intelligence coprocessor to enable deep learning capabilities on the device.

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In its next version of its wearable self-contained, holographic computer known as the HoloLens, Microsoftwill incorporate an artificial intelligence coprocessor to enable deep learning capabilities on the device.

First released in March of 2016 in a development edition, the HoloLens is touted by Microsoft as a fully-untethered holographic computer that delivers 3D holograms pinned to the real world surrounding a user via cutting edge optics and sensors. The optics on the device include see-through holographic lenses, 2 HD 16:9 light engines, automatic pupillary distance calibration, and holographic resolution of 2.3M total light points. Sensors on the device include head-tracking cameras, one Time of Flight depth camera, one 2 MPixel photo/HD video camera, one inertial measurement unit, one infrared camera, four microphones, and one ambient light sensor.

Furthermore, HoloLens contains a custom multiprocessor called the Holographic Processing Unit (HPU), which is used to process information coming from the device’s sensors. In the second version of the HPU, which is currently under development, an artificial intelligence coprocessor will be added, Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group announced in a keynote speech at CVPR 2017. This chip will be used to natively and flexibly implement deep neural networks and supports a variety of layer types.

At the event, Shum showed an early iteration of the second version of the HPU, running live code implementing hand segmentation. The AI coprocessor has been designed to run continuously in the next version of the HoloLens, off of the device’s battery.

"This is just one example of the new capabilities we are developing for HoloLens, and is the kind of thing you can do when you have the willingness and capacity to invest for the long term, as Microsoft has done throughout its history," said Marc Pollefeys, Director of Science, HoloLens. "And this is the kind of thinking you need if you’re going to develop mixed reality devices that are themselves intelligent. Mixed reality and artificial intelligence represent the future of computing, and we’re excited to be advancing this frontier."

View more information on theHoloLens.

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