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Magic Leap unveils first version of its augmented reality glasses

21 Dec 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

This is not the consumer version but for the first time we see the secretive company’s technology implemented in AR glasses. The Magic Leap One Creator Edition will ship in 2018.

Welcome to Day One

The company has raised almost $2 billion from investors, including Google and China's Alibaba. For a number of years, it has been working on augmented reality – or mixed reality – technology. This is the first concrete result of the efforts.

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition includes AR glasses, a remote device, and a ”Lightpack” housing the computing chips and battery. The computer must be worn on on the belt. The idea is to place - or augment - virtual objects on top of the real world by looking through a pair of glasses.

Magic Leap One Creator Edition

The glasses will ship in 2018 and are designed to give developers and creators early access to the technology. The price was not announced but it is rumored to cost $1000-1500 dollars. No date was announced for a consumer version and judging from the Creator Edition, it will likely be several years before it is ready.

Magic Leap is not the first company to release glasses. Albeit much simpler and based on different technology, Google Glass was launched in 2015. It flopped for a number of reasons, partly because it made people around the wearer feel uncomfortable. Google Glass had a built-in camera.

- "Our lightfield photonics generate digital light at different depths and blend seamlessly with natural light to produce lifelike digital objects that coexist in the real world," Magic Leap said.

Many companies are researching and investing in virtual and augmented reality technology. Microsoft has announced HoloLens and Apple recently added ARKit to iOS, making it ”the largest AR platform in the world”. Facebook and Valve has focused more on virtual reality technology in the form of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Sony has also launched a virtual reality headset for PlayStation.

Magic Leap One Creator Edition

Not ready but people are excited

The technology has limitations but Magic leap thinks it can overcome them to create a truly viable product. People who have seen Magic Leap’s technology are excited.

- ”Magic Leap is one of only a handful of genuine 'holy shit I can't believe I'm seeing this' moments I've had as an adult. Previous was iPhone,” said Benedict Evans, partner at Andreessen Horowitz that has invested in Magic Leap.

- ”To see those creations appearing not on the physical world around me, as if it were some sort of animated sticker, but in it, was startling,” said Brian Crecente, reporter for RollingStone, who was given a preview of the headset.

However, the reports also note that it currently has a limited field of view.

So, what now? You wait - probably several years. The technology is not ready for prime time and we will surely see many false starts – and already have – but the technology holds great potential in the long term, if companies can slim down the package to look like something even remotely discreet. Will Magic Leap’s AR glasses be a breakthrough? Perhaps, perhaps not, but we are certainly eager to try it. For more information check out the updated website.

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