Microsoft’s HoloLens will closely guard your privacy

It can sometimes seem as if the more entwined technology grows with our lives, the less privacy  is left, a cycle Microsoft now hopes to break with its HoloLens. One of the newest patent fillings to have come out of its augmented reality unit reveals that the forthcoming headset will feature a special mechanism designed to prevent software from directly accessing sensitive details about the wearer’s surroundings.

Developers will instead have to interact with the system using a specifically designated set of intermediate commands built directly into the HoloLens and placed under your explicit control. The functionality is split into two main parts based on the corresponding data that will each require its own permissions to enable: display settings and projection positioning.

It’s the latter that you’ll want to keep away from hackers the most. The image recognition software that HoloLens uses to identify areas in which an application can project content could be exploited to map out the layout of a room and everything inside, an unnerving prospect to say the least. It’s potentially even more alarming in professional environments.

To prevent abuse of that data, Microsoft will relegate the specific details of the user’s surroundings to an internal renderer in the headset that will handle content projection for applications as a sort of proxy. That effectively limits the positioning functionality that can be accessed directly to specifying where a certain piece of content should be displayed.


It’s a win-win proposition. Users gain the comfort of knowing that third parties don’t come in direct contact with information recorded through their headsets (or unless explicitly allowed to do so, in the case of video and audio) while developers can do their work several degrees of separation from the messy implementation details of the augmented reality environment.

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