Magic Leap shows its first augmented-reality headset to the world

If Oculus and HTC have created most of the buzz around virtual reality, then the secretive Magic Leap has been the company we've been waiting to hear from regarding augmented or mixed reality—the placement of simulated objects in real-world fields of vision. Rumors have long swirled regarding what, exactly, the company's mixed-reality product might look like. As of today, we need wonder no longer. The company has unveiled its Magic Leap One Creator Edition goggles, a pair of sensor-studded glasses that connect to a self-contained computing pack that can be worn on one's person.

From what I can tell, Magic Leap's magic relies on inside-out tracking to build a detailed model of the user's surroundings, including walls, floors, and the planes of any furniture in the space. The company's goggles then use a proprietary method of light-field projection to create the illusion of persistent objects in those spaces. According to Rolling Stone's hands-on report, the simulated objects produced this way appear solid, not as wispy or translucent forms. Rolling Stone's man on the ground says the headset also features eye-tracking technology so that simulated characters can even establish eye contact, an experience he described as "unnerving." Like Oculus' Touch system and the HTC Vive controllers, the Magic Leap headset has a six-degrees-of-freedom tracked controller that can be used to interact with the virtual objects on display.

The experience that the Magic Leap One provides sounds incredibly compelling from secondhand descriptions, but this iteration of the headset does sound as though it suffers from a limited field of view, much like Microsoft's HoloLens does. Rolling Stone's reporter suggests that the headset's field of view is "about the size of a VHS tape held in front of you with your arms half extended." The company told Rolling Stone that future iterations of its hardware will expand this field of view for a more immersive experience.

Magic Leap isn't disclosing any of the specs of its hardware today, including the processing units that power the experience or the life of the battery that animates them. The company also isn't talking about a price tag yet, and it only goes so far as to say that its hardware will ship sometime next year. We'll be keeping our eyes open for more details on this technology as they surface.

Comments closed
    • slushpuppy007
    • 3 years ago

    Lewis Hamilton ?

      • floodo1
      • 3 years ago

      LOL

    • mcarson09
    • 3 years ago

    Sold to apple in 3…2…1.

    • Laykun
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<] the headset's field of view is "about the size of a VHS tape held in front of you with your arms half extended."[/quote<] Basically DOA for multimedia/entertainment consumption.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 3 years ago

    Am I the only gerbil that saw that guy and thought about the anime Serial Experiments Lain?

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      You are not alone.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    If by ‘show’, you mean ‘fake’, then yes, if by ‘yes’ you mean ‘yes’.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Sounds awesome. As much as I liked the Hololens devkit when I tried it, I would describe it as a 3D HUD, where the Hololens elements were starkly distinct in your view.

    If this thing’s funky lightfield projection can make AR objects blend more seamlessly with what you’re seeing IRL, then even partially-successful progress on this front is an exciting development!

    • wizardz
    • 3 years ago

    “These blast points… too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial storm troopers are so precise.”

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      Anyone else ever wondered what Obi-Wan was smoking? From what I could see, it seems that not being able to hit the broad side of a Correllian Freighter was a job requirement for storm troopers….

        • jessterman21
        • 3 years ago

        I remember questioning that as an 8-year-old

          • wizardz
          • 3 years ago

          i still question it today 🙂

    • Zizy
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t see much magic behind it.
    Smaller (just glasses part, bigger if this pack is included in size) and weirder Hololens with essentially the same tech inside, ~2 years after Hololens, and that’s about it? Whatever.

    But it is still nice to have another contender, then we might actually get Hololens v2 for saner amount of money (and with those FOV issues fixed) 😛

    • mudcore
    • 3 years ago

    They really nailed the late 90s bulbous shiny plastic look with these. Well done!

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      And the compute pack looks like a modern day Discman!

        • willmore
        • 3 years ago

        I was thinking Apple Airport Express.

      • Anovoca
      • 3 years ago

      Now if only they used clear white and clear blue plastic.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 3 years ago

        iMac gen 1 ftw!

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 3 years ago

    I thought they were working on a virtual retinal display.

      • lowpower
      • 3 years ago

      The fooled google with those early patents….then Alibaba… now Temasek with the “new” tech. What a deal for $2B!

    • psuedonymous
    • 3 years ago

    Low FoV = the kiss of death. Without any technological advantage, Magic Leap have nothing over any other manufacturer using the same OEM optical modules. At best it’ll end up as a massively subsidised Hololens clone, at worst it’ll end up as a Hololens clone without the support machinery of Microsoft behind it.

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 3 years ago

      Rolling Stone’s reporter suggests that Magic Leap is building its own modules, so it doesn’t seem as though it’s made from off-the-shelf parts in a fancy housing.

        • psuedonymous
        • 3 years ago

        I wouldn’t take Rolling Stone’s (or Magic Leap’s) word for it. The capabilities described are equivalent to those available in off-the-shelf modules, so either Magic Leap have dumped a huge amount of money into re-inventing the wheel, or they are weasel-wording around their use of OEM parts but-we-totally-assembled-them-so-the-module-as-a-whole-is-our-own.

        As a kicker: those little rectangular ‘nubs’ on the side (presumably to accommodate the microdisplay & illumination assembly that ‘projects’ into the waveguides) are classic bodge-to-fit-the-part-in-our-concept-drawing design elements

          • MathMan
          • 3 years ago

          Or they built their own because they came up with improvements over off the shelves modules?

            • tay
            • 3 years ago

            It’s possible. But it’s also possible that they’re blowing smoke up everyone’s…

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