In a recent post, we looked at the difference between VR, AR, and MR. Most people are familiar with both virtual reality and augmented reality. Many will have even experienced them first-hand. But mixed reality is a technology that’s still finding its feet. There is one company that has big plans to shake up the market though; Magic Leap. The company has shrouded themselves in mystery for some years now, despite unprecedented levels of funding from some big names in the industry like Google and Alibaba. After $2.3 billion in funding, the company finally revealed some details on their mixed reality AR headset, the Magic Leap One.
What is the Magic Leap One?
“Magic Leap One is a pair of MR goggles that will overlay digital information onto the world around you.”
The Magic Leap One is a pair of MR goggles that will overlay digital information onto the world around you. You will be able to interact with this digital overlay using a controller. This controller has both haptic feedback as well as six degrees of freedom tracking, making it the most ambitious controller we’ve seen for a standalone device. That’s right; you can carry the whole experience around with you. The headset, controller, and portable puck-shaped computer (responsible for the high-end processing) are only tethered to each other.
Although Magic Leap showed off a hardware version of the tech in June, they remained tight-lipped about the exact specs of the device. They also neglected to show any real-time footage of what was visible through the lenses.
How Does the Magic Leap One Work?
Room-scale tracking and spatial awareness are achieved by the headset’s front-facing cameras. These cameras can also capture video and photo images. There are also eye-tracking sensors so the headset can tell which direction the user is looking. Magic Leap’s Photonic Lightfield Chip means that images are projected directly onto the wearer’s retina. As a result, digital elements will blend seamlessly with the real world. Or at least, that’s what the company promises.
The ambition of Magic Leap is to have multiple screens visible at once while wearing the headset. So, your phone, laptop, TV, or other digital devices can instead have their functionality displayed directly to your retinas. Although it sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, the prospect is certainly intriguing.
When is the Magic Leap One Released?
The company is not very forthcoming with the finer details of the device, which may be a worry for some. After all, we’ve seen similar levels of hype from devices such as Google Glass. However, Magic Leap says they’re confident of hitting their 2018 launch window. There’s no word yet on cost, other than that it will have a starting price similar to a high-end smartphone or tablet.
Magic Leap One: A Game Changer?
It remains to be seen whether the device will deliver on everything that it promises. It does sound like a truly revolutionary prospect, but we’ve yet to see it in action. With a release date sometime within the next six months, we’re prepared to wait and see.