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HoloLens 2 will pack a Microsoft-made AI coprocessor

MICROSOFT’S HAS ANNOUNCED that its second-generation HoloLens headset will pack a custom-made AI coprocessor. 

The new Microsoft-made coprocessor will be incorporated into the second version of the firm’s HoloLens HPU “to natively and flexibly implement Deep Neural Networks.”

This means that HoloLens 2, which is tipped to debut in 2019, will be able to analyse what the user sees and hears on the device, rather than wasting time by sending the data to the cloud processing. This also means that user data is more secure as it remains on the device at all times. 

“The chip supports a wide variety of layer types, fully programmable by us,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “[It] is designed to work in the next version of HoloLens, running continuously off the HoloLens battery.”

By doing so, the next-gen device will enable features such as more sophisticated hand-tracking with hand segmentation and on-device voice recognition. 

“This is just one example of the new capabilities we are developing for HoloLens, and is the kind of thing you can do when you have the willingness and capacity to invest for the long term, as Microsoft has done throughout its history,” Microsoft added.

Microsoft’s first  Judge Dredd-style “mixed reality” headset went on sale in the UK last year, with the firm offering a developer-only version for £2,179, and an enterprise-focused model for £4,529.

Speaking to The INQUIRER earlier this year, Roger Walkden, Microsoft’s HoloLens commercial lead, revealed that sales of the headset are so far in the “thousands,” but insisted that’s all that the company needs. 

“We’re not trying to sell hundreds of thousands or millions or anything, it’s expensive, and it’s not in huge numbers. So we’re happy with the level of sales that we’ve got – I can’t tell you anything about the numbers, but it’s in thousands, not hundreds of thousands, and that’s fine. That’s all we need,” he said. µ 

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