Developers Can Check Out HoloLens at Microsoft's NYC Store

Those looking for a little hands-on time with Microsoft's augmented-reality headset can experience it in the Big Apple, but by appointment only.

Microsoft HoloLens

Pack your bags, developers. HoloLens awaits in New York City.

In early 2016, developers can get started on their HoloLens projects by paying $3,000 for the Development Edition build of the device. Before requiring such a hefty investment, Microsoft is offering developers an appointment-only opportunity to get some hands-on time with the buzz-worthy wearable.

There are hundreds of names on the waitlist for developers hoping to spend time with HoloLens in the "New York metropolitan area alone," Alex Kipman, a technical fellow in Microsoft's Operating System Group, said in a statement. In response, Microsoft carved out some room in the company's largest physical retail location.

"It's because of this overwhelming reception that we're eager to open the first ongoing HoloLens experience showcase for developers at the Microsoft Flagship Store in New York," stated Kipman. Located on a glitzy and well-touristed stretch of Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, the store is nestled among several luxury storefronts. A few blocks to the north is Apple's own flagship store, featuring the iconic glass cube entrance.

"Now, developers who have been wanting to try HoloLens will have the chance to experience the world's first fully untethered holographic computer, powered by Windows 10, for themselves," continued Kipman. Interested developers can request an appointment at the HoloLens Events Website.

"The dedicated space at the new flagship store provides an opportunity for developers to experience HoloLens firsthand and get started on creating HoloLens experiences. In New York, developers will get a taste of how HoloLens can enable new ways for people to communicate, create, work and play," Kipman added.

Compared to high-profile virtual reality (VR) projects like Oculus Rift (acquired by Facebook in 2014) and Sony's Project Morpheus, now dubbed PlayStation VR, HoloLens stands apart by overlaying 3D images on a user's real-world surroundings, instead of depositing the wearer into a virtual environment.

Despite the splashy debut of Microsoft's first-ever laptop, the Surface Book, HoloLens was a major draw at the company's October hardware event, also in New York City. Staffers showed the technology in action by fighting off robotic invaders in a "mixed-reality" demo called Project X-ray.

But it's not all fun and games. Microsoft has some big enterprise hopes for HoloLens.

Recently, the company and Autodesk announced they were teaming up for HoloLens-enabled product design. "We are happy to announce that Microsoft HoloLens is partnering with Autodesk Fusion 360 on a solution that we believe could change the way industrial designers, mechanical engineers and other product development fields work together," said Ben Sugden, studio manager for Microsoft HoloLens, in a Nov. 30 announcement.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based toolset that incorporates computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering, computer-aided manufacturing and collaboration. "Fusion 360 is the ultimate cloud-based 3D design collaboration tool for product designers and engineers," added Sugden.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...