Microsoft’s Virtual Reality headsets called Hololens are giving the VR enthusiastic audiences plenty of reasons to buy them. With their extraordinary AR experience it allows its users to have a complete 3D holographic images experience as though they are a part of the virtual environment.
But these VR headsets have also recently gained popularity for some ethical issues in regard to its contract with the US Army.
Basics Of Hololens
Microsoft’s HoloLens, a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses by Microsoft which lets you see the world around you in 3D with floating objects and virtual characters around you.
The lens has a very high processing power and the hardware has a 3D-satilized sound, Wi-Fi, a Kinect-like camera with a 120 degree spatial sensing system, a fleet gyroscopes and accelerometers and a transparent screen for each eye. Apart from having a CPU and a GPU in the system, the system also has something called a HPU which is a holographic processing unit, to integrate the real word and the holograph data.
Use Of HoloLens In Indian Industries
The technology, relatively new is being deployed by not just Tetra Pak in India to reduce the machine downtime and productivity loss for the customer, and protecting them against risks to food safety and quality by adopting the HoloLens. The company uses HoloLens to making seeing and hearing issues in real time and guiding the on-site work from anywhere in the world, possible. Several other leading companies including those in healthcare and aviation are using the technology.
IT firm Ramco Systems is developing apps for the aviation sector using HoloLens. It has been building cutting-edge applications on top of Microsoft’s HoloLens. 3D models of jet engines can be converted into detailed holograms and projected into HoloLens, resulting in an authentic training experience simulating every scenario they would come across as part of their operational responsibilities. It is also used in providing comprehensive remote support. A simple Skype call with the control center enabled by the HoloLens worn by the user can deliver a real time assistance.
Hyderabad-based LV Prasad Eye Institute is using HoloLens for bettering its service. The ophthalmologist has to wear the device called Holo Eye Anatomy on the head and peer into the eye in 3D. The objective of the tool is to make learning and understanding the human eye in minute detail more experiential and enriching. This device is projected through HoloLens. According to Anthony Vipin Das, Project Lead, Holo Eye Anatomy, said, “Human eye anatomy can be studied in greater detail with experiential learning. The device aids in increasing this aspect and helps collaborate remotely in real-time. With the mixed reality of Hololens experience, one can stay in the real world and simultaneously explore 3D.”
Companies like ThyssenKrupp in the manufacturing sector and automotive companies such as Ford, which recently said its automotive designers have started using HoloLens that will help them design cars better and faster. In November 2018, Microsoft had secured a $480 million contract from the US Army to supply the military branch with as many as 100,000 HoloLens augmented reality headsets for training and combat purposes. This new technology in the US Army was intended to being more situational awareness to troops for them to become more lethal and mobile.
Ethical Issues Related To HoloLens
Some employees at Microsoft are afraid that these virtual headsets will turn real-world battlefields into a video game. The gadget has the capability to make the virtual imagery be superimposed over the real-world environments in front of them, and an occurrence of this can lead to many disadvantageous episodes.
As a result, a group of Microsoft workers recently demanded that the company cancel the contract of HoloLens with US Army. More than 50 Microsoft employees circulated an internal messaging board that the technology could help soldiers spot and kill adversaries on the battlefield. The employees are of the opinion that they refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression. They asked Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith to cancel a $480 million contract inked with US Army. The letter also asked Microsoft to stop building any weapons technologies and appoint an independent ethics review board to determine acceptable uses of Microsoft technology. The protesting workers say it means HoloLens, better known for its business and entertainment applications, will be used to help kill.
Other Protests For Tech Ethics
There have been past incidences of protests in terms of ethics in technology. In 208, Google employees had a protest regarding the military Project Maven which uses AI to analyse aerial images from combat zones. This eventually resulted into withdrawing the project.
Microsoft had also previously had a protest in 2018. The protest was regarding Microsoft’s work with the US immigration authorities for which the employees had circulated an open letter.
Creating a systematic pipeline of AR expertise is the key to resolve the awareness issue. Companies need to invest in an organized marketing along with quality AR development. It is positive to see that employees of the companies today are concerned about the misuse of technology that they make, to the real world and do their part in creating awareness. It shows that the technical staff working on these products care for its misuse in the society.
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