Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 gets a color-blind mode and other improvements
Microsoft has released the latest version of Windows Holographic for the HoloLens 2, and it’s now up to version 22H1. This new release comes with a couple of big improvements for end users, IT admins, and developers. The biggest change is the addition of a new color-blind mode, which makes the HoloLens 2 more usable for users with vision impairments.
Color-blind filters have been a thing for a while on Windows for PCs, but they’re just now showing up on the HoloLens 2. The included filters are the same as what you get on Windows 11 – there’s a grayscale (regular or inverted) option, plus tritanopia, protanopia, and deuteranopia filters. This should accommodate a wider range of users so they get the best experience. These options are available in the Settings app under Ease of access -> Color filters.
While it’s not completely new in this update, there are some new improvements for the Moving Platform Mode, which allows you to use the headset while on a moving platform such as a ship. These improvements make it easier to set a down direction that’s different from gravity. You can also now toggle Moving Platform Mode easily in the Settings app or through MDM policies if you’re an IT admin. Additionally, apps can use the Moving Platform Mode SDK to configure this mode, too.
Microsoft also recently made it possible to create custom rules for how the Start menu is opened on Windows Holographic. This is to help you prevent it from opening by accident, so essentially it just allows you to disable some of the activation methods that are available by default.
For developers, the HoloLens 2 also now supports a new Power and Thermal SDK. This allows apps to take specific actions when the HoloLens 2 detects an increase in temperature that could cause damage to the device. This way, apps can respond to overheating and prevent themselves from being force closed by the OS, which might have happened in the past to prevent excessive heat.
There’s also a new policy for IT admins that allows a Single App Kiosk app to launch a specific set of other apps. This way, you can still access important apps like Settings or other apps that you may need to access from the kiosk app.
Aside from these recent additions, this update also includes a new version of the Edge browser, which is now up to version 98.0.1108.3. HoloLens 2 is still getting these updates later than Windows PCs do, but at least it’s now closer to version 100, which is the latest one available on the desktop. There’s also a fix for an issue where using the cameras may have resulted in a memory leak, so you may notice improved performance in some scenarios. Here’s the full list of fixes and improvements:
- Improvements to Moving Platform Mode when detecting the down direction.
- Fixed an issue around update dialogs.
- Updated inbox Microsoft Edge browser version.
- Fixed an issue where toggling optional diagnostic data didn’t persist the chosen setting in telemetry settings page after a reboot.
- Fixed an issue where MDM enrollment was stuck when applied with runtime provisioning for local accounts.
- Fixed an issue where kiosk mode wasn’t falling back to global kiosk (if configured) on encountering failures for AAD group-based kiosk configuration.
- Fixed an issue where graphics memory is leaked during some camera usage scenarios.
- Updated HoloLens inbox Microsoft Edge browser version to 98.0.1108.43.
While it’s good to see the HoloLens 2 is still getting updates, there are some questions about the future of Microsoft’s AR efforts. It was recently reported that Microsoft canceled a purported HoloLens 3 and that the lack of a clear direction has left things at a standstill. On the other hand, Microsoft and Qualcomm said just a few months ago that they’re working together on a processor for AR headsets, so it would be surprising if there was nothing on the way.