So it finally happened. Last week we received our Magic Leap One Creator Edition after almost a decade of hype. Our team was excited but skeptical about this mysterious company that’s been in business since 2010 and somehow managed to become a multi-billion dollar company without ever launching a single product.
Anyway, the day finally came and our new toy was delivered to our office via a “Magic Leap Expert.” He ran our developers through the basic functions and was on his way.
What is Magic Leap you ask?
The long answer: An American startup company that released a head-mounted virtual retinal display, which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by "projecting a digital light field into the user's eye", involving technologies suited to applications in augmented reality.
The short answer: They make AR headsets.
We tested the product and played with some of the 5 available experiences. Below are some of the basic pros and cons (in our opinion).
It looks kind of cool and the headset is much smaller and lighter than the Microsoft HoloLens giving users the ability to wear it for longer periods of time. It also has a brighter screen and a wider field of view. It appears to do a good job mapping the geometry of walls and objects in a room as long as they’re not reflective. The Magic Leap is also about $500 less expensive than the $3k HoloLens, and some of us feel it’s more user-friendly with better consumer potential. It’s a long way from perfect, but as a first generation product it’s a step in the right direction. We’re excited to start adding our own content and testing its performance capabilities.
For starters, we were promised this…
….and we got this…
There’s not much content available, and the content that does exist is shockingly underwhelming. If you’re going to release this product after 8 years of hype and billions of dollars of investments, show me something cool…anything cool. When I tried on the HoloLens for the first time, I took a walking tour of Rome, flew in a hot air balloon and explored our solar system. When I tried on Magic Leap for the first time I stacked a few hamburgers on my office floor.
The computer rests on your waist like an old Sony Discman and is connected to your headset with a cord. The field of view is still not great and needs improvement, and I would prefer a gesture control option alongside the hand controller. It doesn’t seem to remember room geometry and requires the user to recalibrate the environment every time it’s used. Our CTO pointed out this is probably for safety reasons, but it’s becoming an annoying step. In addition, it struggles with reflective surfaces, tabletops, and satin finishes. There’s a lot more pros and cons to go over but we are still getting familiar with the product.
Regardless of our opinions, only time will tell if big industry and/or consumers will embrace Magic Leap. More research and testing are required if ATM is going to consider recommending this product to our clients. We’ll keep exploring the possibilities.
There’s not much content currently available for Magic Leap, but click here for a quick promo of their Project Create experience. Hold on to your hats.