Magic Leap has promised its Mixed Reality headset will ship in “early 2018” – but many experts are doubtful the product can live up to its hype.
Rony Abovitz, CEO of $6bn-valued Magic Leap has announced the release of Magic Leap One, “Lightwear” augmented reality goggles which will visualise 3D objects interacting with the user’s real world. The so-called Creator Edition will be available only to developers and designers.
Product images depict smooth, grey plastic goggles – scarcely larger than chunky sunglasses – with a two-to-three-inch band encircling the user’s head. Unlike VR headsets which encase the viewer’s eyes completely, the Lightwear is semi-transparent so the user can still see through to the real world.
The hardware consists of the sunglasses-sized headset, a CD-Rom-sized “spatial computing platform” which clips to a belt, and a handheld remote control, similar in size to hair clippers. The goggles – which contain a built-in computer – will be available in two sizes, with optional pads for the nose, forehead, and temple. The headgear contains four built-in microphones and six cameras.
Several tech writers have expressed skepticism that the hardware in its depicted size can contain the necessary computing power to deliver the high-definition images promised. The company reserve the right to change the look of the gear from its depiction in publicity images, as stipulated in a tiny line of text on their website: “Product is continually advancing and may be different at time of shipment”.
According to the Magic Leap website, the Magic Leap One GUI consists of “multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking” which the company said will create a natural experience of interaction with the tech. The set contains a “high-powered chipset”, an integrated processing unit capable of delivering “gaming-quality graphics” in “intricate detail”. Sound engineering ensures directional audio, while room-mapping technology produces persistent objects which “stay where you put them”.