Startup company Magic Leap introduces augmented-reality glasses

Nichole Vega
December 21, 2017

Magic Leap is giving the public an initial look at its first augmented reality headset, which took six years and almost $1.9 billion from investors to develop.

While Magic Leap has been staffing up with an army of software developers and creatives, the most-unique part of its offering is expected to be the headset's display. While they've seen limited application in the workplace, the average user now doesn't have much of a reason to go out and buy a piece of equipment to experience augmented reality. It's the entire setup you see above, including the headset, controller, and corresponding computer (the circular thing on the left).

Magic Leap's investors include Google and Peter Jackson, amongst the usual cluster of VC companies, and Jackson's involvement (as a man whose business involves staying on the bleeding edge of entertainment technology) is a major clue to the system's potential.

Magic Leap One
The Magic Leap One headset Magic Leap

The Magic Leap One is confirmed at last as due for a commercial launch sometime in 2018, presumably beating Apple's own mysterious dedicated AR device to market. And they work together to make life better. The information about the One uses some confusing wording about it, explaining that it generates "digital light" (ouch) at "different depths" that blends with "natural light".

Magic Leap One is a more than just a pair of AR glasses with a camera on it (see: Snapchat Spectacles and its less-than-a-year popularity span). Apparently, the company is also looking into adding prescription lenses to their smart glasses, allowing those of us with poor eyesight to experience augmented reality as well. It will be released in 2018 aimed at developers and connects to a small computer called Lightpack via wire to project lifelike objects over the real world. Instead, we got nausea inducing contraptions which cost too much and haven't found a way to grab consumer attention. But we do know a lot more than we did yesterday, mostly thanks to Magic Leap's somewhat puzzling decision to bring Rolling Stone in for a demo earlier this month. The Magic Leap hardware tracked the movement of his head and eyes, enabling the virtual assistant to make eye contact and follow his movements throughout the room.

A separate component - meant to be worn on a belt - contained the GPU and CPU and was about the size of a portable CD player. There will also be a touch controller that features haptic feedback. However, if the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC (likely), Magic Leap's marketing team could simply be capitalizing on the recent reveal of Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows laptops.

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