Besides the cost, the biggest issue with the Microsoft HoloLens is the Field of View (FoV) which at 35 degrees has been described as looking at the world through a mail slot.
Microsoft has not made it a secret that they are working on HoloLens v2, and has been explicit about the improved Holographic Processing Unit and improved Kinect-based Depth Sensing Unit.
What Microsoft has not talked about much however has been the optics of the device, but now a new patent suggests Microsoft may have achieved the breakthrough they have been after.
Titled “MEMS LASER SCANNER HAVING ENLARGED FOV”, the December 2016 patent applications explains the method below:
A MEMS laser scanner is disclosed for use in a near-eye display including an increased field of view (FOV). In embodiments, one or more polarization gratings may be applied to the mirror of the MEMS laser scanner, which polarization gratings may be configured according to the Bragg regime. Using light of different polarizations, the MEMS laser scanner is able to expand the FOV without increasing the range over which the mirror of the scanner oscillates.
The process is illustrated as below:
One of the inventors of the patent, Sihui He, was an Optical Engineer at Microsoft and according to her LinkedIn profile while there:
Developed next generation diffractive optics technology (Two patents)
Modeled and demonstrated the smart glasses for the next generation Hololens (Two patents)
According to recent rumours the next generation HoloLens codenamed Sydney is expected in early 2019 and will feature “significantly improved holographic displays” and importantly will also cost “significantly less”. Read more about those rumours here.
See the full patent here.