Magic Leap - a small headset that can change the big world
Magic Leap is one of the most promising and “secret” projects in the virtual and augmented reality industry, which promises to be a real breakthrough and radically change a person’s life. However, there is very little information in the public domain about this mysterious device, and the company itself is in no hurry to share details: apparently the technology is still too “raw” or it lies in competition – Magic Leap does not want anyone to get ahead of them.
We have collected everything that is known about the project bit by bit and tried to figure out what Magic Leap is and what benefits it can bring to a modern person.
What is Magic Leap
Let’s start with the origins: the startup Magic Leap was founded in 2011. The founders of the project outlined their goal as the creation of a mixed augmented reality device that will look like ordinary glasses.
What makes the device unique is that the three-dimensional image is not displayed on the screen, as in any other VR headset, but is projected directly onto the user’s retina. This approach allows you to make any virtual object 100% realistic – it will not be possible to touch it except. At the same time, many images can be submitted to each user’s eye, thanks to which the effect of depth and perspective will be achieved.
We should add that Magic Leap is not a 3D stereoscopy that has already become commonplace, which is also harmful to vision and the nervous system. The innovation of the headset will also consist in the fact that by sending a high-quality image directly to the transparent lens of the pupil, it allows you to save the viewer from the headache that is present when watching ordinary 3D movies. This is due to the fact that the human eye will perceive the projected image as if it sees an object in reality.
In addition, many sensors and cameras will be built into the headset, which will track the user’s actions and allow him to interact with virtual objects, for example, to hold a blaster that does not exist in reality. Additionally, Magic Leap will be able to recognize real objects surrounding the user, for example, a table or a computer.
One more important difference from competitors ‘ products is the design and dimensions of the device: presumably it will look like ordinary glasses, which is much more convenient than massive VR helmets such as HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. If the Magic Leap engineers manage to fulfill their promises, then any user will be able to walk around in such “glasses” all day without any discomfort and interact with the virtual world.
From an interview with the executive director of Magic Leap, Roni Abovitz, a bioengineer by profession, it becomes clear that something completely new and incredibly fantastic is waiting for us. However, Abovitz does not disclose any details. According to him, Magic Leap is a technobiology that combines the adaptation of high technologies to the peculiarities of human biology. Calling his brainchild a real magic and a “cinematic reality”, the bioengineer further fuels the interest of investors and potential consumers in his project.
In general, the Magic Leap headset can be described as Microsoft Hololens, only much cooler, more convenient and more high-tech.
Behind the veil of secrecy
Since the start-up was founded and to date, over $ 1.5 billion has already been invested in the company by such giants as Google, Qualcomm Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and others. At the same time, not one working prototype was shown, which causes confusion and negative rumors about Magic Leap.
Currently, the capitalization of the company’s assets, according to various estimates, is from 4.5 to 6 billion dollars. It becomes clear that such a serious investment in Magic Leap will certainly be justified. Otherwise, Google and others simply would not have spent such huge funds on the project.
During the entire existence of the startup, only a few demo videos were shown, which, according to the company’s representatives, showed the operation of the device in practice. The video was spectacular, but according to skeptics, it was implausible.
It is difficult to judge the reliability of what was shown to the audience, but Magic Leap continues to patent their “developments”, although not providing them to the general public. So in January 2015, they filed a patent application for a certain “Planar gesture-controlled device with diffraction elements”. Behind this complex name, apparently, lies the very mega-cool mixed reality glasses that we are all waiting for.
The device of a revolutionary headset
It is worth mentioning that the Magic Leap headset will run under a completely new (details could not be found) operating system other than Windows or Android. This is due to the fact that the performance of the above operating systems does not fit the requirements of the project. This is one more reason for the delay of the device’s imminent release to the market – developers have to do everything “from scratch” – such developments simply do not exist yet.
In addition, an innovative headset should have the most powerful computing capabilities enclosed in a small case. The company managed to solve this problem by using silicon photonics technology in its device.
Silicon photonics is a promising direction in the field of electronics, which uses silicon crystals that transmit information using optical, rather than electrical signals. Thanks to this approach, the bandwidth and speed of information transfer increases many times. We should add that IBM and Intel have been working in this direction for more than 10 years.
How the unique headset will look approximately can be estimated from the images attached to the patent.
Areas of application
In the previous article about virtual reality, we described in detail the prospects for the development of the industry and the scope of VR applications. All this also applies to the Magic Leap augmented mixed reality headset.
Film industry. Watching movies in a new format where any viewer can interact with what is happening on the screen is the ultimate dream of many moviegoers. Moreover, such experiments already exist, for example, the animated film “Henry”. It should be noted that one of the investors of the project is the Legendary Entertainment film company, known for the film “Interstellar”. And such an investment can pay off a hundredfold.
Video games. The gaming industry is one of the fastest growing in the world and it is not surprising that gamers of all ages will rush to buy an innovative AR headset that can offer you an unforgettable experience and experience. The promo video of the companies below perfectly demonstrates this.
Work and education. It is much easier, cheaper and more interesting to learn using virtual objects. So, for example, a teacher in a geography lesson telling about Everest will be able to demonstrate its colossal size to schoolchildren, and in a biology lesson to show almost “live” what a cell of a living organism consists of.
It will be much more convenient for architects and designers to create and create something new, operating with virtual objects in front of their eyes. And the military, for example, will be able to hone their combat skills with the help of mixed reality advising programs.
And on the official website of Magic Leap, it is generally said about “fairies and unicorns” that will help people regain faith in magic.
But all this is secondary: the most important thing is that the success of the developers guarantees us a new unique unified interface that will rid the world of televisions, computers, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets – Magic Leap is able to replace all this with one single headset.
Bulky wired (or even wireless) devices will give way to glasses, with which any user can watch their favorite movies, make calls, play games, surf the Web and do many other things. This means that Magic Leap will radically change the world and bring a truly fantastic future one step closer.
And according to the statement of the representatives of Magic Leap the first prototype will appear in public within six months.
However, according to Abovitz, even if successful, the mass transition to the new technology will definitely not be fast. This is due to both the high cost of the product and the lack of popularity among the general population. By the most modest standards, the cost of the device will be about 1.5-2 thousand dollars.
So we can conclude that something new is waiting for us in the near future – something that should radically change almost all spheres of human life. It is clear that it will take a long time from the time of the first announcement to the penetration into the masses, but when people realize all the benefits and convenience of a revolutionary mixed reality headset, the devices we are familiar with will sink into oblivion and future generations of people will live in a half-virtual world.