After years of hype and billions of investment dollars, you can now buy Magic Leap's mixed reality headset – if you have deep pockets and live in one of the US cities that the device is shipping to. Aimed primarily at developers, the Magic Leap One Creator's Edition can be yours for US$2,295.
The slow, staged roll out matches what we've seen in the past from the likes of the Oculus Rift and Microsoft's HoloLens, with early, unfinished versions of the hardware made available to developers and early adopters who want to invest in the platform.
As a result you shouldn't expect too much from the Creator's Edition, despite the steep asking price. The experiences so far are limited to a few in-house apps, including a web browser, a video player, and a rudimentary social networking app. A number of other apps and games are also available, but they're little more than demos right now.
You do however get everything you need in the box in terms of hardware – the goggles, the Lightpack processing unit that goes in your pocket (so you don't need to hook this up to a computer), and the controller that lets you interact with apps as well as helping to track your location in space. Delivery and a personal fitting session are included too.
With most modern smartphones now able to do a variety of augmented reality (AR) tricks on their own, this kind of tech is much more mainstream than it was when Magic Leap first got going.
And while AR and mixed reality (MR) are essentially the same thing – computer graphics overlaid on top of the real world – companies like Magic Leap and Microsoft are pushing the MR label to mean a more immersive type of AR, where the digital and the physical are more tightly integrated together.
Magic Leap says its special ingredient is the realism and the intelligence of its "digital lightfield" MR technology, creating a high-definition digital overlay that interacts with the physical world, and which is better than anything else at tricking your brain into accepting what you're seeing.
More specifically, it's the way that virtual objects are lit, the lack of lag between head movements and the change in the graphics, and the way the results are beamed into your eyes that make the tech stand out, Magic Leap says.
That's the claim anyway, and now at least some of us can start seeing if the Magic Leap One fulfils all of its promises. So far there's been no official word on when a full consumer launch might happen, but this is another step along the way.
Whether you're super-keen to see what all the fuss is about (and have just come into a lot of money), or run a mixed reality game development studio, you can order a Magic Leap One Creator's Edition online. You'll first have to check Magic Leap is delivering to your address in the US, though.Product page:
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