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After meticulously limiting buyers of its HoloLens augmented reality headsets through an application process for the past few months, Microsoft has announced on its website that it is moving decisively to open sales to all “developer and commercial partners”, with the caveats that you can buy a maximum of five headsets and that you need a Microsoft account. It’ll cost you hefty $3000 but it’s nice to have the option.
The Verge reports that much of the early use cases have focused on serving the needs of developers and enterprise consumers, and that it is unclear as of now exactly how many HoloLens headsets have been purchased and shipped though Microsoft has stated that all of its earlier shipments had been filled.
Microsoft has reported on its website that the HoloLens AR headsets will be used by Japan Airlines to train flight mechanics and engineers. The airline has also developed a proof-of-concept program to train flight trainees to become co-pilots. In a promotional press release, a Japan Airlines spokesperson told Microsoft that augmented reality can help improve training for pilots by allowing them to practice in 3D and convert intellectual memory to muscle memory rather than simply studying instructional materials and videos. It provides a more hands-on learning experience than rote memorization.
Microsoft is also touting that the headsets have been used by golfers to improve their game and that the headsets have the potential be used in a wide variety of scenarios. The Verge is reporting that there are plans in place for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab to develop uses for the AR headsets as well.