How to Try Out the Microsoft HoloLens (& Other Reality-Altering Headsets) Near You
Mixed reality (MR) feels like an amazing, almost mind-blowing futuristic technology—but only once you've experienced it for yourself. Words, images, and even videos simply cannot describe the experience in full. If you want to really peer into the future and experience MR for yourself, you can sign up and just go in many cities.
Microsoft knows they have a hit on their hands with the HoloLens, as do other developers of mixed, augmented, and virtual reality technologies. If you see people in a HoloLens, you'll see little more than giant glasses and an even bigger smile.
Microsoft is taking their headset on tour, starting with New York City. Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles will follow in June. You can sign up here (if you're 18 and up).
But the HoloLens isn't the only device you can sample. The HTC Vive, while more virtual than mixed reality, can see and insert your limbs and movement into part of the game—and it's available for demonstration in several areas.
Ars Technica rounded up the majority, but HTC keeps an official list of events on their site (scroll to the bottom) as well as GameStop, Microsoft Store, and Micro Center locations that offer walk-in demos.
In the strictly VR department, Oculus Rift made it to market first, so finding a demo isn't terribly difficult. You can either consult this Google map for hundreds of demo locations, or just check your local Best Buy.
Because the technology is so new, few headsets have demo locations around the world or even in many locations in the US. Nevertheless, a lot of other options might be out there for you to try if you hook up with the right people. In tech-friendly cities, you can find relevant groups on Meetup.
Search for mixed, augmented, or virtual reality and you should find groups you can join. Even if you're more interested in the AR/MR side of things, still look at the VR groups as well. Many don't limit themselves to just the single technology.