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Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
Bringing holograms to your living room.
MIXED REALITY

Anyone can now pick up a Microsoft HoloLens if they have the cash to spare

By Ananya Bhattacharya

One of Microsoft’s most radical innovations is set to hit the virtual shelves.

The HoloLens is now available to order through Microsoft’s website. The augmented-reality headset, which features advanced sensors that detect optical movement and an HPU that can process a large amount of data per second, lets users interact in “mixed reality.” Think AR with to-scale holograms transposed into the real world around you.

Technically the device is listed as for sale to developers and business customers, but anyone who has a US or Canada shipping address and signs up for a Microsoft account can purchase up to five units, as long as they’re willing to dish out $3,000 per headset, the price tag the company set in February. In March, the company offered a limited HoloLens development edition to developers through an application process for the same price. (Someone sold one of the devices on eBay for $14,960.) Microsoft stores aren’t holding HoloLens inventory yet, TechCrunch notes.

Microsoft also unveiled a ‘Commercial Suite’ for the product. The business-focused offerings include identity management, device management, and encryption. Microsoft has showcased a variety of applications, like simulating space conditions for NASA, replacing costly and time-consuming 3D modeling in architecture, and configuring cars for Volvo. Earlier this year, Citigroup used the headset to set up a virtual trading desk.

When the device was launched in 2015, it had a major flaw: tunnel vision. Almost a year on, the model became better at calibrating the distance between a user’s pupils, but Quartz’s Alice Truong still struggled with a limited field of view at the Build Conference in March. The device also did not respond well to eye movements—users had to move their entire head—and its air tapping function was less precise than clicking a mouse, trapping people in a series of difficult navigations. Microsoft was not immediately available to comment on whether these shortcomings have been addressed.