Berney Villers and the team at SimXperience take delivery of a Microsoft HoloLens AR unit! Working with the HoloLens, Berney has shared some of his thoughts with us in a recent blog relating to what he thinks AR or augmented reality could mean for sim racing and future driver simulator training in general.
For people not up to speed on exactly what AR actually is, augmented reality is best described as a form of mixed reality which implies that virtual objects such as holograms can be super-imposed on a view of the real world around you, allowing the HMD wearer to interact with said objects and holograms, thus giving you augmented reality. The Microsoft HoloLens is an advanced HMD designed to be commercially viable for private use and is a very promising technology for several fields including gaming and in particular, sim racing!
For a great example of this relatively new technology check out these official HoloLens videos:
SimXperience are exploring several areas where AR could be an improvement over VR. One rather big advantage is that the HoloLens is an untethered device, meaning one can move around in a virtual space, without the need to be directly connected to a PC via a mass of cables. The HoloLens is actually a standalone PC in itself!
These are definitely exciting times for sim racing and HMD technology! HoloLens could provide sim racers (and real world racers, for that matter) with useful and practical information when it comes to lap times. Such information could include taking the best line on circuit, flag status on circuit, accident warnings, safety related issues pertaining to the mechanical functioning of the car and its systems, as well as the possibility of voice commands to interact with the AR display and the in-car systems.
The team at SimXperience are working on implementing this new technology into sim racing and are re-imagining what sim racing could become! With the advent of augmented reality and virtual reality, it could be that the days of traditional monitors are numbered. I, for one, am very positive about what this all means for sim racing in general and that the ultimate immersive experience could just be around the next corner!