What is The Magic Leap One?

Good question. A lot of people still aren’t sure.

What we do know is that it’s a secretive project that has received significant funding from Google over its four-year development period. We know its purpose is that of an AR headset, and, although its not exactly stylish, its certainly a whole lot lighter and less clunky looking than recent offerings from the VR side of things.

We also know that it’s releasing in 2018, which is particularly unusual due to the volume of people who want to know, but who don’t know what exactly it does.

Thanks to a recent Twitch livestream with the device’s developers, however, a bit more information about the mysterious headset has been uncovered. Here’s everything we know about this futuristic AR device:

  1. It comes with some luggage – The headset is far from the whole package. The interface will also make use of a “Lightpack”, which appears to be a small, pancake-shaped matte grey device that users can clip onto their belts and carry around with them. This device houses the hardware that each Magic Leap One will run on, and will allow the Ones to track and record spacial recognition with a maximum potential far exceeding the cute little guys you can put on tables and such using Snapchat. it also comes with a controller of sorts that, also matte grey and ergonomically designed with a single trackpad and tiny home button. The controller featured Six Degrees of Freedom tracking, which is a fancy way of saying that it can recognize where it is being moved in a 3D space. This will come in handy for allowing greater and more extensive interaction with AR objects.
  2. The AR objects will now recognize and accommodate real world objects – This is all according to the device’s main website, so the limitations of this technology are a bit unclear, but it certainly sounds exciting. If the site is to believed, this tech will allow AR objects to automatically understand where they are in a real-world environment, and react accordingly. For example, if the system detects that objects are casting shadows in a certain direction, it might attempt to replicate this and put virtual light on an AR object to reflect a shadow in the same way. Even more interesting is the possibility of interacting with an AR object yourself – that is, going up to a virtual ball and kicking it across a field, for example. This level of AR interactivity has never been seen before.
  3. Stuff Stays Put – The One reportedly has the ability to remember recent digital mappings, and while it probably can’t track the whole world at once, it is supposedly able to keep decent track of a user’s house. This means that if a user wants to, say, re-model their home in virtual reality, they can begin to do so one day by placing a virtual TV on a cabinet, get bored, go to bed, wake up the next day, put on the headset and find that the TV is still just where they left it.
  4. Throw it out there – despite having a controller, the device will supposedly also support hand gestures. This means using hand motions to navigate through menus that appear in front of your face, selecting objects with a finger, and literally flicking them into a room. This alone is neat, but becomes much more incredible when combined with the three aforementioned possibilities – this means users can do things like place a bunch of virtual bouncy balls in a cabinet drawer of their home, then pick the balls up later and throw them around. Since the tracking software would remember the layout of the house, the balls would bounce around realistically with rooms even if the user was not looking at those rooms. They’d also still be there when the user went looking for them.

There’s a lot of potential here. Obviously, we don’t have enough hard information to really determine what is and isn’t possible with the Magic Leap One, but at the very least its exciting to see AR technology making such, ahem, leaps into the future.

We’ll be looking forward to its launch in late 2018, and will be interested to see what developers will do with the technology – developers who will, hopefully, have a lot more creative ideas than just throwing a bunch of balls around the house all day.

Featured Image Via Magic Leap One Official Site

  • Caroline Walker

    It will be interesting to see how well this is liked. This is my first time hearing about this product. I wonder what kind of other inventions this will inspire.

  • Prasun Srivastava

    Great product