Microsoft has unveiled a new wearable hologram device that could revolutionise the way architects design and see the existing built environment.

Billed as the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer, and tapping into existing Trimble tools such as SketchUp, HoloLens is a headset device with high-tech lenses that brings 3D models to life as full-scale holograms.

 “Architects are dealing with shapes and spaces and light. They dream in 3D, and then need to translate this design into a set of 2D documents,” Trimble’s MR Program Manager, Aviad Almagor explains.

In a video spotlighting Trimble’s partnership with Microsoft, architects aided by HoloLens will work with a physical model that gets translated into a 3D hologram with the flexibility and ability to run “quick iterations”. This means users can interact directly with their holograms, adding or removing design details to existing buildings and visualising what a final version might look like.

“The thing that we can do for architects is really give them much higher confidence around decision-making. One way we can do that is they can now literally immerse themselves in the scene they are building, and see street-side, how the building’s going to look,” says Microsoft’s Studio Manager, Ben Sugden.

On site, HoloLens allows for the visualisation of design data in the context of the real environment, which will ensure designs are implemented correctly. The “self-contained” wireless computer, cooled by onboard fans, also means users can move about freely in their offices and on a project site.

Other benefits of the product include creating new ways to communicate and collaborate, in real time, with remote teams from around the world.