Super Bowl of the future: Microsoft imagines how HoloLens will change how we watch sport

[This is a special Saturday post on a timely topic; the story below from the Independent includes the new 2:00 minute Microsoft video. For more on presence-evoking tech related to football see coverage in USA Today. –Matthew]

Future football via Microsoft HoloLens (screenshot)

Super Bowl of the future: Microsoft imagines how their HoloLens augmented reality device will change how we watch sport

Microsoft thinks their upcoming HoloLens could drastically change how we watch sport

Doug Bolton
4 February 2016

Microsoft has released a video showing how NFL fans might watch American football in the future – and naturally, it involves their HoloLens augmented reality headset.

Despite the many billions of dollars that the sport generates, fans today watch the Super Bowl in much the same way as they did a decade ago.

However, if the HoloLens one day becomes a household product, all of this could change – the head-mounted device works by overlaying virtual images onto the real world, creating something that looks like a hologram that only HoloLens wearers can see.

In a number of demonstrations and videos, Microsoft has shown users turning tabletops into videogames, or walls into interactive canvases. They’ve also shown the device being used by designers and architects, allowing them to see live 3D models of their creations suddenly appear in front of the them.

In a new video, this technology has been applied to sport – football fans watching the game on their TV see the whole wall turned into one big screen via the HoloLens.

Others have 3D closeups of the action appear on their coffee tables, allowing them to walk around and see each catch from a different angle.

Some even see full-size models of players jump out from their living room walls, with their statistics and specialities displayed next to them.

Bad luck if you’re looking forward to experiencing all this during the Super Bowl on 7 February, however, because the HoloLens isn’t set to be released to the public any time soon.

Its current capabilities also don’t quite match up with the video, either. As Microsoft representatives have said, the headset’s field of view, or the area in which the ‘holograms’ can appear, will look around the same size as a 15-inch monitor does when it’s two feet from your face. That’s a fairly large area, but it won’t be enough to display the huge immersive images shown in the clip.

However, some of the features are within the realms of possibility. When it’s released, HoloLens owners will be able to link a number of the devices together, allowing them to all see the same images as if they were really in the room. This has potentially huge applications during communal entertainment events like sport, when everyone needs to be able to enjoy the same experience.

It’s still very early days for the HoloLens, and the impressive features shown in the video could easily be possible with future models. Microsoft, the Super Bowl’s ‘official technology sponsor’, don’t see the video as an advert showing the HoloLens’s current capabilities, but as more of a concept film showing what it could do in the future.

If you want to get in on the ground floor of this new tech, Microsoft is currently taking applications from developers looking to get their hands on the upcoming developer kit. These early models will cost $3,000 (£2,000) each, and they’re expected to be delivered to selected recipients in the first quarter of this year.

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