Microsoft wants researchers to figure out some impressive uses for HoloLens. It’s put out a call for grant proposals for researchers who want to work with the augmented-reality headset, and it intends to reward five groups with $100,000 and a pair of HoloLens development kits, for a total of $500,000 and 10 headsets. “We expect that researchers will envision novel ways of using HoloLens — from interactively teaching students, to creating mixed-realty art installations, to manipulating holographic data to reveal new relationships… to who knows what,” writes Jeannette Wing, a Microsoft Research VP
Basically, Microsoft doesn’t know what will become of HoloLens just yet, but it has some ideas. It says that it’s interested in seeing proposals on how HoloLens could be used to visualize data, help people communicate, or assist teaching in STEM, medical, and design fields. Microsoft is also interested in how HoloLens can be used artistically, writing that it’s also interested in seeing it used for narrative storytelling or interactive journalism. Researchers won’t be limited to those subjects, so long as their proposal helps to bring an understanding to “the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society.”
Microsoft will be accepting submissions through the beginning of September, with university and non-profit researchers eligible for the grants. It seems like a good way to get some interesting projects moving on HoloLens and ultimately giving the public — and Microsoft itself — a better idea of what augmented reality can be used for. We’re already starting to see a lot of experiments with virtual reality, particularly when it comes to storytelling, and it’s likely that we’ll see similar approaches in augmented reality once HoloLens starts to become available. Microsoft will announce its grant winners in October.