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Microsoft’s Alex Kipman was alone on stage, but his augmented view was represented on the screen. Image via David Niu.

Microsoft’s Alex Kipman showed off the most detailed demo of the HoloLens yet during a TED talk in Vancover, B.C., on Tuesday — demonstrating not just an augmented reality, but a form of virtual teleportation.

Photo by David Niu.
Alex Kipman showing the HoloLens on stage at TED. Photo by David Niu

“I believe our children’s children will grow up in a world devoid of 2D technology,” Kipman said onstage while wearing the HoloLens and surround by a virtual mushroom garden right out of a Tim Burton movie.

While those in the audience saw just Kipman and his head-mounted display on the physical stage, his virtual environment was shown on screens in the auditorium, according to David Niu of Seattle-based employment engagement startup TinyPulse, who is at TED and shared details and photos from the presentation.

Kipman, who is the technical fellow in Microsoft’s operating system group, didn’t just show off interactions with digital objects; he also brought NASA’s Jeff Norris onto his virtual stage. Norris was also wearing a HoloLens, but was physically across the street. The “holographic teleportation” allowed Kipman and Norris to behave like they were in the same room while actually standing hundreds of yards apart.

That demo also allowed Kipman to show off some of the unique interactions he hopes the HoloLens will enable. Norris and Kipman were able to look at a virtual Martian landscape onstage, which could let scientists delve deeper into data while a future Martian rover continues to collect more images.

“It did seem pretty real,” Niu told GeekWire. But a lot of the magic was in the presentation; the actual HoloLens experience won’t offer quite the same experience.

Kipman crouches in his magic mushroom field. Image via David Niu.
Kipman crouches in his magic mushroom field, as it’s represented on stage. Image via David Niu.

For one thing, the field of view on HoloLens demo units has been notoriously narrow, so you’ll have to move your head around quite a bit to see the fully augmented world.

Even the setup wasn’t quite the same as what consumers will have. According to Re/code, Kipman said Microsoft had to map the TED stage before the demo, a step consumers won’t have to take.

But the demo gives more depth to Microsoft’s vision of our future in 3D interfaces. Microsoft will be delivering $3,000 HoloLens kits to developers sometime this quarter, but the company has yet to announce a price or launch date for the consumer versions.

The official TED video hasn’t been posted online, but you can watch a bootlegged version here.

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