Microsoft's HoloLens Wants to Read Your Emotions, Offer Help

By Julian Benson on at

Microsoft's augmented reality headset, the HoloLens, may include biometric sensors that can read your stress levels.

According to a patent filed earlier this week, the HoloLens would be able to–"based on one or more of the user biometric parameters"–tell if you're stressed and "present default help content to the user via the head-mounted display device."

Wait a second, this sounds familiar...

Microsoft has tried to provide contextual help in the past with less than stellar results. Clippy the desktop helper would pop up and lead you to help files depending on what you were doing on your PC. It just... rarely led to helpful help files.

What's amazing about the HoloLens version is that the patent claims it would be able to scan your view and identify which object was causing you stress and why. It could then provide you a tutorial on how to solve that problem.

clippy loo roll 1

If Microsoft hasn't got a solution on file for that particular object or your problem with it then it will search the web to see if a solution can be found online, it might even be able to crowd-source the solution.

clippy dogThe sensors proposed in the patent document would monitor your heart rate, sweat levels, brainwave activity, and even the amount of oxygen in your blood.

This sounds like a potentially really useful system. I just can't imagine that it will be as accurate as Microsoft would want. We've already seen the number of miscommunications simple voice commands have caused with the Xbox One. And that's with direct commands, not a computer trying to intuit what you want.

A head-mounted display that tries to read your emotions would surely get it wrong a lot of the time.

clippy hungry


It could potentially identify the wrong object that's causing you stress, or detect stress when you're feeling another emotion, or misidentify the problem you're having. Any of those results would cause frustration instead of solving it.

Microsoft hasn't yet announced a release date for its HoloLens.