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Microsoft HoloLens Is Coming to Developers

March 30, 2016, 6:21 PM UTC

Microsoft’s holographic headset is on its way to developers.

The business technology giant said it will be shipping a developer-friendly version of its HoloLens augmented reality headset to coders who pre-ordered the device last month for $3,000.

Augmented reality is a variant of virtual reality in which holographic images are blended and displayed in real life. Microsoft (MSFT) is hoping that coders will take to the new device and create their own applications using the included software development kit. With more coders creating software and programs for HoloLens, Microsoft can potentially lure more customers to buy the device.

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A number of companies are currently experimenting with the augmented reality device, including NASA, Airbus Group (EADSY), Lowe’s (LOW), and Audi, explained Alex Kipman during the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. Kipman is a technical fellow of Microsoft’s operating systems group.

Although a number of these companies are only using the device for so-called proof-of-concept projects, Kipman expects they will eventually become production-ready experiments.

To show off what HoloLens can do, Microsoft invited Pamela B. Davis, the dean of the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, to demonstrate how the university is using the device. Davis explained that the university has moved out of the experimental phase of HoloLens and is actively using it in its curriculum.

Students show off the HoloLens device at Microsoft's developer conference.
Students show off the HoloLens device at Microsoft’s developer conference.
Jonathan Vanian

University students joined Davis on stage with HoloLens devices strapped to their heads. They proceeded to demonstrate how they could to point to internal organs in the human body, which was being displayed from the HoloLens.

Davis relayed that students have told her that using the headset for 15 minutes has shaved off hours that they would have spent in the lab.

Kipman added NASA is actively using the HoloLens device and will incorporate the technology for an Mars exhibit at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab this Summer.