Microsoft is hard at work on the HoloLens 2, and by the sounds of it, it'll pack some fancy new hardware.

Microsoft just announced that the next generation of its HoloLens headset will feature custom silicon. More specifically, it'll have an artificial intelligence chip - a “coprocessor” - designed by Microsoft. With this chip, HoloLens 2 will be able to analyse visual data directly, without having to upload the data to the cloud, which should result in more efficient performance overall.

Keep in mind AI is all the rage right now. That, and technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality. So, it makes sense that Microsoft's mixed reality headset would leverage the power of AI. You see, by getting AI to run directly on the device, Microsoft said you'll not only get a quicker performance, but it also means the device won't require a continuous internet connection. 

The next HoloLens should therefore offer a truly mobile, powerful experience, along with processing that is more secure, because your data will stay on the device. Now, remember, Apple is thought to be building its own custom AI processor for the iPhone, so Microsoft is basically doing the same thing for its HoloLens. Clearly, there's some sort of AI race going on in Silicon Valley.

Microsoft's AI coprocessor will be built into the headset's “Holographic Processing Unit”, or HPU, a central vision-processing chip that handles data from all the on-board sensors, like head-tracking unit and infrared cameras. But there’s still no release date yet for the HoloLens 2. Rumour has it we can expect it to arrive sometime in 2019.