Magic Leap, the AR company that has been in and off again in the world's considerations when it comes to bringing digital worlds to our real-world spaces, has just announced what is bound to be the first material demonstration of the in-house developed AR and VR systems. The company, which has been accused of stringing customers and investors along with vaporware demonstrations, seems to be poised to reveal to the world just how serious they really were being when they said - and demoed - world-changing abilities of their AR systems.
Even as the company has finally announced an actual physical product that will be available to consumers (in this case, creators first), details remain scant. The Magic Leap One Creator Edition headset is still mired in smoky details and diffused edges, with barely any details being available at this time. There are some amazing renders and some pretty interesting graphics on the company's site - but that's Magic Leap's signature, after all. For now, we know there will be a headset built for comfort, which features the company's Digital Lightfield technology with environment mapping, precision tracking and soundfield audio to create believable marriages of digital and real life experiences; a Lightpack, which is basically a portable computing disc that remains attached, via cord, to the headset, and which power the whole experience (no idea right now of battery longevity or computing capabilities), and some VR-esque controllers which don't seem to bring much of anything new to the table.
Platform features include the aforementioned Lightfield capabilities, Visual Perception for digital reconstruction of real-world surroundings, Persistent Objects, Soundfield Audio, a high-powered chipset, and a next-generation interface.
The first appearance of the technology, as the Creator One tagline for the headset entails, is meant for creators, with Magic Leap planning on launching a Creator Portal in 2018, which will allow for the population of a (we wager) virtual store with apps, interfaces, and products that are ready for consumers to pore through after the full-scale consumer launch. The technology renders are brilliant and appealing, and the AR interface looks straight out of the best - or more cheesy, you name it - sci-fi scenarios out there. However, let's reserve judgment and excitement for when the product actually rolls out for creators, and then for consumers. It's a whole wide world out there, and some products are more representative of reality than others. For what it's worth, if Magic Leap's One is all that the company claims it to be, we might be looking at the beginning of an era, and even more titanic changes to how we as humans interact with the world and with one another (though we really seem hell-bent on reducing interaction as much as possible, so there's that).