Magic Leap has finally revealed the Magic Leap One, its first consumer-orientated augmented reality goggles, are set to release to the public in 2018. After years of hype with very little sign of a product to match, it now seems the company is ready to unleash its AR technology upon the world.
Similar in principle to Microsoft's HoloLens, the Magic Leap One is worn around the head and over the eyes, but looks more like a pair of ski goggles than the VR or mixed reality headsets we've seen previously. Shipping with a handheld pointer controller, the unit works independently of a games console or phone, instead sharing processing duties between a computer embedded in the goggles, and a separate processing unit that sits in a puck that can be worn on a belt or in a shoulder pad.
That puck is said to have power relative to a MacBook Pro or gaming laptop, with the headset keeping track of "multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking,” through its less-powerful onboard chipset.
AR excitement builds
Elsewhere the Magic Leap One also features four built-in mics for voice control, built in speakers and six external cameras.
Rolling Stone were invited to try some demos of the technology, and came away impressed. Though Magic Leap rumors pointed to a troubled development, with their technology proving difficult to shrink down to a consumer product, Rolling Stone experienced "no stuttering or slowdowns" working with the new product. The demos themselves sound impressive, with characters able to maintain eye contact with a player in games, and virtual comic books legible enough to happily read floating in front of a Magic Leap One user.
"[P]lace a virtual TV on the wall over your fireplace and when you return later, the TV will be right where you left it,” reads an exciting extract from the Magic Leap website.
Comfort seems to be a priority too – while the field of view for vision is still below that of the human eye, it's said to be better than that of HoloLens, while multiple sizes of the goggles will be available, including custom inserts for different nose, forehead and temple sizes.
No pricing details or exact shipping dates have been set, which may cause concern for those that have been watching this company grow from the shadows for many years now. However, this first look at the hardware seems positive, perhaps pointing to some real competition for Microsoft's HoloLens and Apple's ARKit next year.