If you haven’t seen Microsoft Hololens‘ Holotours (or a demo of it) you are missing out. Here’s a Youtube video from The Game Veda to give you an idea of what lies ahead for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
Let’s begin with the obvious. The immersive nature of the experience is one of the best I’ve seen. You might hear people complaining about the relatively small field of view on the Hololens but it still gives a very convincing experience. You know the 3D 360 degree video is high quality because you can see the expensive GoPro rig they used to record it in this video. The Hololens is primarily an augmented reality device, but that isn’t readily apparent in Holotour. Yes, you can see the real background of the Game Veda’s apartment as he uses Hololens but once he’s in the Holotour app, its all VR. However, within VR it does an excellent job of using text and animation overlays (e.g. the flooding valley).
In watching Holotour you get the sense that it can make history come alive. The video’s simulations of ancient Peru and Rome show the amazing possibilities that continue to surface with VR. Looking at education, the potential for learning is limitless with the ability to experience times and places that don’t exist anymore.
However, the unfortunate reality for educators is that each Microsoft Hololens headset costs $3,000! And that’s just for the developer version! So while Holotour is quite impressive and gets us all excited for what history classes will eventually be like, that’s the problem, practically speaking, it is still far in the future.