Plantation, Florida-based startup Magic Leap finally unveiled its first official product following seven years of development and close to two billion dollars raised in funding from tech giants like Google, Temasek, and Alibaba, having announced the Magic Leap One: Creator Edition, a mixed reality headset which adopts the form of retro-futuristic goggles. As the name suggests, the initial version of the gadget will be aimed at developers seeking to create augmented reality experiences suitable for the wearable that the Rolling Stone reports is actually called the Lightwear, whereas a tethered computer attached to the wearer that does most of the processing work will be marketed as the Lightpack. A single controller used for interacting with the virtual world created by the headwear and its computational unit will bear a straightforward "Control" moniker and recognize six-degree movements, according to the same source.
The company believes its first commercialized offering will revolutionize computer interfaces, being powered by a photonic chip and combining the very cutting edge of technologies like computer vision, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and light field signal generation. The googles utilize a wafer that moves photons in a fixed 3D nanostructure with the goal of sending a light field signal to the two lenses of the Lightwear, which ultimately generates the augmented reality elements you see around the real world while wearing the glasses. The firm's ultimate goal is to shrink this technology into an ordinary pair of glasses that people would be able to use on a daily basis. The Lightpack is a standalone computer with an unspecified drive, CPU, GPU, sound card, and Wi-Fi capabilities, the company revealed. The machine learning and visual processing part of the equation is performed by the Lightwear itself, with the entire package being capable of what's essentially fully aware spatial computing.
Speaking plainly, the Lightwear and Lightpack are able to not just create augmented reality elements and insert them into your view but actually generate them in a way that doesn't necessarily overlay with real-world elements. Instead, the device can do something like obscure your perception of a real table and replace it with an entirely different, virtual one. The field of view offered by the gadget is said to be better to that of Microsoft's (35-degree) HoloLens but still somewhat restricted, with Magic Leap promising its second-generation headset will significantly improve on this aspect of the user experience and saying app developers will be able to fade the borders on the existing solution to create a smooth transition between what the user sees and doesn't, allowing their brain to basically fill in the gaps. On the other hand, it's still unclear whether the first-gen product supports multiple focal points. Refer to the video and gallery below for some depictions of Magic Leap's first product and its applications.
The Magic Leap One: Creator Edition will start shipping to developers next year, Magic Leap's founder Rony Abovitz said, without providing a more specific availability window. According to previous reports, the wearable will become available come late March and is also likely to make an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in January given how it's now been made official. The U.S. startup said it's planning on releasing a video called "Origins" in the coming weeks, with that particular creation being meant to summarize the history of the Lightwear and Magic Leap up until this point. No firm price tags have yet been attached to the Creator Edition of the software that's expected to be primarily advertised to developers and extremely enthusiastic early tech adopters, with previous rumors putting the mixed reality headset in the $1,500-$2,000 range.