First Magic Leap One dev kits are now being sent to select software developers but come with a wide variety of precaution strings attached, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Among other things, the mixed reality startup is demanding its partners keep their headset prototypes locked in a safe when they aren't actively working with them and testing their software experiences. The exact number of developers that already received their prototypes is understood to be extremely limited, though Magic Leap already promised to make its experimental hardware more widely available to studios later this year. The firm that started operating in 2010 and already raised over $2.3 billion in funding without shipping a commercial product has been known for its secrecy, with the first generation of its headset only being unveiled last December, prior to which virtually nothing was known about the device.
Many details of the Magic Leap One headgear remain unclear, with the Plantation, Florida-based company so far only confirming the device ships with a dedicated processing unit that's tethered to it and is meant to be attached to a belt or elsewhere on one's person. The unique feature of the headset is its ability to not just insert augmented reality creations into the user's field of view but do it in a manner that overlays them with real-world objects. In practice, that ability allows it to accomplish things like change textures of objects like tables and walls, or replace human figures with digital avatars.
The experimental goggles are likely to become available for purchase to the general public near the end of the year, the startup previously suggested. Magic Leap already struck a partnership with NBA and several other organizations meant to ensure its first-generation headset already offers some immersive content by the time it's commercialized. Bloomberg reports at least one studio declined to accept Magic Leap's dev kit because it concluded the firm's security requirements aren't worth it. Non-disclosure agreements are likely attached to the prototypes, much like they were given out to journalists and potential media partners before they were allowed to try out the goggles in Magic Leap's offices in the past. The device is expected to cost between $1,500 and $2,000 once it hits the market. The startup also took to last week's GDC to announce development tools meant to allow indies to start creating apps for its hardware seeking to blend virtual and augmented realities.