Sparx: Season 1, Episode 5

The future on your head: HoloLens

Marc Pollefeys works for Microsoft on the further development of the HoloLens mixed reality glasses – glasses for which he sees great potential, especially in the working world. Will we soon be wearing the computers of the future on our heads? Pollefeys tells us where the journey is leading.

The surgeon stands in the surgery and performs a complicated operation. He is assisted by an expert in the field. Step by step, she guides the surgeon through the operation, follows his every hand movement and can draw his attention to the smallest detail and show him additional information or examples from studies – all while she is on the other side of the world and without the surgeon having to move away from his patient. This is made possible by a pair of mixed reality glasses that the surgeon wears during the operation and through which he receives the necessary information from the expert in real time.

According to Marc Pollefeys, this fictitious example from the surgery room will be part of everyday life in a few years’ time: so-called HoloLenses will help us solve all kinds of problems. Pollefeys is a professor of computer science at ETH Zurich and head of the Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Zurich, where he works on the further development of the HoloLens mixed reality glasses for Microsoft.

HoloLens glasses have sensors, lenses and chips built into them. Together with a connection to the cloud, it becomes possible to add information to the world right before our eyes. For our everyday life, this means that the car mechanic knows exactly how to proceed with a new car model and which tool to use without watching lengthy tutorials and reading instructions. Or it shows the architect in enormous detail what the future building will look like. In short, it will make life easier for all of us.


Marc Pollefeys (born in 1971) is Partner Director of Science at Microsoft Switzerland and professor of computer science at ETH Zurich. As such, he has co-published over 550 publications, primarily in the field of computer vision. As a child, the native of Belgium was fascinated by mathematics and Lego. So it’s not surprising that he is currently creating one of the most complex modern “toys”: the augmented reality HoloLens glasses.

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