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Magic Leap Unveils AR Goggles

21 December 2017

Magic Leap has long battled claims - published by the Information, among others - that the startup over-hyped its products.

Magic Leap unveiled on Wednesday a new "creator edition" product, lifting the veil of secrecy around one of the most mysterious unicorn start-ups. A wireless controller is used as input.

Magic Leap promises an experience similar to what is already offered by Microsoft's HoloLens, including mixed reality gaming, the ability to fill the real world with persistent, lifelike digital objects, and soundfield audio adding to the overall "real" feel of the experience. Lightwear are equipped with six cameras to map their surroundings and are attached to a Lightpack computer and battery pack via wire. That is, until today, when we got a look at the Magic Leap One. From editing an elaborate 3D model to playing a first-person shooter in your living room, Magic Leap One is supposed to produce lightfield objects in intricate detail.

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Magic Leap content ranges from games to music experiences to Oculus Connect-like digital collaborations so far, and these are being billed as "just a jumping-off point" for creators. "Our spatial interface includes multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking".

Magic Leap's AR headset is more like a pair of goggles that actually houses a powerful miniature PC that's akin to a MacBook Pro or an Alienware PC, complete with a GPU and CPU combo. The breakthrough, according to Abovitz, was that the brain's visual cortex approximates a processor, and that if Magic Leap could render only the parts of a "light field" that the eye is looking at, it could turn it into a headset. "We have that stuff working in the labs", he said, Rolling Stone reported. "That was the key idea".

The secret behind the Magic Leap One, however, appears to lie in the firm's Digital Lightfield technology.

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Magic Leap's hardware appears to be geared for software makers. Magic is treading carefully here: in an interview with Rolling Stone, CEO Rony Abovitz said he expects early buyers to be "Everyone who would have bought the first iPod", though he also said, "It's definitely not just a development kit". The price has not yet been disclosed.

Magic Leap is an unusual startup. That injection should value the company at about $6 billion, people familiar with the situation said in September, and brings the total amount raised to $1.8 billion. And it's based in Florida, not California.

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Magic Leap Unveils AR Goggles