Magic Leap has been teasing a mysterious, game-changing augmented reality device for several years now, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in investment along the way, and today it finally revealed some actual hardware. Meet the Magic Leap One, available to developers from next year.
In terms of the capabilities of the Magic Leap One, it looks like we're in for the same AR features we've seen from the likes of the Microsoft HoloLens and ARKit on iOS: digital graphics seamlessly merged with the real world, as you move around.
Where Magic Leap is hoping to stand out is with its "digital lightfield" technology that makes those computer-generated elements look like authentic, physical objects that are part of a scene.
"Our lightfield photonics generate digital light at different depths and blend seamlessly with natural light to produce life-like digital objects that coexist in the real world," says the company. "This advanced technology allows our brain to naturally process digital objects the same way we do real-world objects, making it comfortable to use for long periods of time."
Details are still pretty scarce – and Magic Leap says the product might look different when it finally ships – but the headset seems to be powered from a small unit you wear on your waist, called a Lightpack. Compare that with the HoloLens, where all the kit sits on top of your head.
No extra computer connection is required, and you get a basic controller included. Gesture and voice inputs will apparently be supported.
Based on what we've been told so far, AR objects will be able to interact with real-world objects, and be persistent too. In other words, a computer-generated droid will be able to recognize where your sofa is in a room, and a big-screen AR TV you put on your living room wall will still be there when you come back the next day.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Magic Leap CEO and founder Rony Abovitz said that the goggles will be available in two sizes, which can be tweaked to fit. And integrated audio sensors and cameras will be used to track a user's movement through a room.
One of the details that's yet to be revealed is battery life, a perennial problem for high-spec gadgets running away from the wall outlet. It's likely that Magic Leap is still working on this ahead of the device's initial launch next year, and we should get more information on this together with key specs soon.
It looks as though the Magic Leap One will take the same route to market that big-name VR headsets like the Oculus Rift did – launch in an early, beta form for people who want to code content for it, and are willing to pay a high price for the privilege. Interested parties can sign up now for more details sometime in 2018, but we don't expect the goggles to actually go on sale to consumers for some considerable time yet.
Source: Magic Leap
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more