Magic Leap probably wont be a name that you’ve heard of before but we think that there’s a very big chance that you won’t be able to avoid them in the future. The secretive start up having been raising millions of pounds worth of investment in order to build an augmented reality head mounted display unit over the last few years.
The device works in the same way as the Microsoft Hololens, which uses waveguides in order to create synthetic but realistic looking holograms or 3D images that can be viewed alongside objects in the real world. Both Microsoft and Magic Leap like to refer to this type of technology as mixed reality although it is more commonly known as augmented reality.Mixed Reality, for us, seems to be the sort of technology that we’ll use in day to day life and could well replace the smart phones in our pockets. Whilst Virtual Reality currently provides us with an unparalleled gaming experience, you won’t be able to type an email on it when you can’t see your keyboard (unless you’re a touch typing god).
So i’m sure your keen to know how this mixed reality stuff really works and what, according to Wired Magazine (who have had the only look at it’s dev kit), is setting Magic Leap apart from it’s main competitors, including Microsoft. Every major MR headset does this in a very similar way, but there are of course some slight differences. In order for the user to be able to see the Holograms or 3D images, they need to be looking through a transparent screen, which is usually glass that is coated with nanoscale ridges. The computer generated images are then projected onto the glass, however this isn’t done in the conventional way that your used to. Of course, this wouldn’t work with rear or front projection, so they instead project the images edgeways onto the glass and then reflect it into the user’s eyes via the nano-ridges. This all sounds pretty cool and complicated but it standard practise as far as mixed reality goes. Where Magic Leap set themselves apart is in the unique way that it beams light into the eye, which apparently improves the clarity and depth of the projected images. Naturally, Magic Leap won’t disclose how they’re actually doing this yet.
Wired have claimed that their experience with Magic Leap has been the best yet and that it actually “exceeds all others”. During the time with the device they got to demo what it was like to watch a movie on a virtual screen which was apparently “as bright and crisp” as a 55 inch high end TV. They also got to watch football game on one virtual screen with a web browser hovering on another. You have the ability to populate your vision with as many screens as you need. It’s easy to see how this could replace all our screens, be it mobile or not in the future. The video below shows the magic leap mixed reality device in action:
The benefits and scope of this device are so clear to see, that it seems to be the natural progression for visual consumer technology. We’ve been waiting for something like this to actually work since we first heard the word “google glass” uttered. The only real question that is yet to be answered, and one that will ultimately shape how the device will perform commercially is, how will the technology be housed? and will it look cool?
To keep up to date with all things mixed reality, follow us at @VRandstuff