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Microsoft Adds 3D Holograms to Real World

Microsoft doesn't just want you to use the latest Windows; it wants you to live inside of it. The company has revealed Microsoft HoloLens, a wearable holographic computer launching alongside Windows 10 that lets you project Windows apps onto the surfaces of your home or office and use them in unique, immersive ways.

Microsoft outlined some of the uses of HoloLens in a demo video, which showcases how Windows apps can come to life once you put the headset on. Some examples include the ability to see Windows app icons on your kitchen cabinet, project a Skype call onto your wall and even physically manipulate a Minecraft world that's laid out on your coffee table.

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The HoloLens itself is a black headset with a circular plastic headband and sunglass-like, see-through lenses in the front. The device uses a "high-end" processor and GPU, with an additional holographic processing unit that can recognize things like bodily gestures, sounds and where you're standing in relation to your home. Microsoft says that you'll be able to take advantage of HoloLens' power without any markers or external cameras, and won't need to be tethered to your phone or PC.

Microsoft will open up HoloLens APIs for all Windows apps, meaning all types of developers will be able to tap into the device's reality-augmenting potential. The headset will be accompanied by a HoloStudio app, which is designed to let users easily create and interact with their own 3D holograms. To show off the app's potential, Microsoft showcased a fully functioning (and somewhat freaky) hologram of company VP Terry Myerson, who made a Star Wars moment very real by suddenly appearing on a keynote stage for anyone wearing a HoloLens.

HoloLens seems like something from the far future, but the platform is slated to release sometime "within Windows 10's timeline." Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of Microsoft's far-out dip into augmented reality.