Microsoft Researches Holographic Near-Eye Displays for Virtual and Augmented Reality


Fully [H]
Apr 10, 2003
Microsoft Research has unveiled new technology designed to bring a comfortable, eyeglasses style form factor to virtual reality and augmented reality. They have demonstrated how they can create holographic imaging with a device in the form factor of sunglasses by using a powerful wave-front correction ability. The mixed reality sunglasses have a wide 80 degree horizontal field of view. The glasses use a thin and transparent holographic optical element as a combiner that has been cut into the shape of an eyeglass lens. This allows the device to have optical see-through capability that can resolve pixel scale details over the whole field of view.

Microsoft Research then wanted to increase the computational speed of the digital holograms. Using GPU-accelerated algorithms and eye-tracking to limit the correct image focus and thus best image; to where the user is currently looking, researchers were able to demonstrate real-time hologram generation rates of 90-260 Hz on a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti.
The technology is so advanced that they can even correct astigmatism and other defects that a user may have, thus the person can set aside their prescription glasses while using the device. The holographic display even has the ability to provide per-pixel focus control. I found this look into the Microsoft Research labs interesting as it shows some of the new technology that may find its way into our homes, work, health, and transportation. Even though current state of the device has the driving electronics external and the glasses are monoscopic, more research is being performed to build a practical stereo display. Even with that disclaimer, I'm still excited about how fast this technology is evolving. Who wouldn't want to wear a pair of glasses instead of the bulky headsets of today!

In this project, we explore how digital holography can be used to build novel near-eye displays for virtual and mixed (or augmented) reality. We experiment with true, phase-only holograms in which the image is formed by the interference of laser light. We address some of the known limitations of digital holograms and demonstrate how holography can add powerful, new features to near-eye displays: per-pixel focus control, vision correction, and unpresented combinations of form factor and field of view.
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Dec 1, 2010
CastAR seems to be very similar product. I've been following since its Kickstarter about 4 years ago


Mar 21, 2016
Who was the commentator... My god... put me to sleep. Couldn't watch the thing. The old lady who did Star Trek's ship voice in the next generation was much better.


[H]F Junkie
Dec 15, 2003
LOL. Did anyone catch that last part where it was identifying objects in the room...

"Soda Can 99.8%"
"John Connor .2%"

One of them also said "Target Acquired" .. clearly Microsoft Research is a front for SkyNet.


Aug 27, 2010
It's strange how far in the infancy of this product they are. I was honestly expecting a much further developmental update. The glasses looked like an atypically 3-d printed set of plastic specs. I wonder what type of power their current 'prototype' (if you can even call it that yet) draws. Curious how much compute is also going on behind the scenes to drive those hz and recalculations.


Aug 30, 2012
Awesome. Waiting to see what the second generation hololens is like - if it goes in this direction it will be nothing less than spectacular.