After Years, Magic Leap May Have Its Promised Tech

But do the augmented reality glasses actually exist?
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2017 4:35 PM CST
These New Smart Glasses Promise a New Reality
Magic Leap revealed its augmented reality glasses Wednesday after years of secrecy and billions of dollars in investment.   (Screenshot)

Regular-old reality is so 2017. Next year, it's all about augmented reality. After years of development, Magic Leap revealed the Magic Leap One via an update to its website on Wednesday, Business Insider reports. The smart glasses—or Lightwear—will give users access to what Magic Leap calls "mixed reality"—digital graphics seeming to exist in the real world. Lightwear are equipped with six cameras to map their surroundings and are attached to a Lightpack computer and battery pack via wire. Magic Leap says it plans to ship Magic Leap One in 2018. Here's what else you need to know:

  • On its website, Magic Leap describes how Lightwear works: "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."
  • Ars Technica was underwhelmed by the Magic Leap One reveal, especially after "years of hype and $1.9 billion in investments." Magic Leap's announcement came without a price, video footage, or physical product. "It's fair to assume that Magic Leap has only delivered a Photoshop render of its long-in-development product," the website states.
  • However, Brian Crecente writes about his experience—heavily subjected to a non-disclosure agreement—testing out Magic Leap's tech during a visit to its Florida headquarters in a lengthy Rolling Stone piece. Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz talks about years of "wandering through the desert" before making a breakthrough that was "less sophisticated than Pong."
  • Magic Leap made headlines earlier this year when it was sued for sex discrimination by a female executive hired to clean up its "boys' club" vibe.

  • Some people are decidedly not ready for the Magic Leap One future. "Looking like a desperate insane person—wearing on my actual face the incarnation of mounting fear that the cyborg way of life will not arrive prior to my natural death—is not for me, but I am just one person with one set of tastes," Albert Burneko writes for Deadspin.
  • And Dave Smith at Business Insider writes you can "expect it to bomb" unless the Magic Leap One "gets a major makeover." Following in the footsteps of the failed Google Glass, the new device "looks terrible."
  • Meanwhile, Abi Robertson at the Verge says Magic Leap One "sets off major privacy alarms" and could have some "downright creepy uses," noting the glasses are equipped with cameras and microphones to monitor everything around them. "Hopefully the company is working on a great security system and privacy policy behind the scenes," she writes.
  • Finally, CNET lays out what we still don't know about Magic Leap One, how the device is different from Microsoft's recent HoloLens, what its light field display is, and what it means for the future of augmented reality.
(More augmented reality stories.)

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