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Magic Leap to ship augmented reality glasses in 2018

VR Headset

Magic Leap – you may not have heard of them before, but there’s a good chance everyone will be talking about this company in 2018.

The company was founded in 2011 but has remained a relatively secretive augmented-reality startup. They first released a teaser image back in 2014. Since then, they shared a few high-level concept videos depicting what they hoped to achieve by mixing AR with the real world.

As Rolling Stone notes, Magic Leap has confounded tech writers and analysts because, while being quiet, the company has pulled in $1.9bn in funding to date. So, while they might not have shared any working technology with the public, it seems they must have had the technology behind closed doors, to get that level of funding.

But now the company has finally revealed the first version of its AR system, the Magic Leap One – the first consumer AR goggles that are set to be released to the public in 2018.

Some critics have questioned whether this will actually come to fruition, with the company making similar promises for release back in 2015, but the release of images suggests that this really could be it.

So, what can you expect from the Magic Leap One AR glasses?

Similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition features a large pair of glasses (that look like goggles) to wrap around the head, and it has four built-in mics for voice control, built-in speakers and six external cameras. The system will be shipped with a handheld pointer controller, and a body-worn computer. It will work independently from a games console or phone, instead sharing processing duties from the worn computer and a computer embedded in the glasses.

This external computer is said to have power similar to a MacBook Pro or a gaming laptop, while the less-powerful onboard chipset enables the headset to keep track of “multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking.”

The company has focused on comfort for prolonged use, with multiple sizes of the glasses set to be available and these will come with custom inserts for different nose, forehead and temple sizes.

According to BBC News, it is designed to project light directly into users’ eyes as a way of tricking the brain into perceiving virtual objects as part of their surrounding environment.

The company’s CEO said: “We call Magic Leap One a creator edition because I think there is a sea change in what is a creator and what is a consumer.

“You are not just a passive consumer of stuff. You will see a blend of most people where a lot of people become co-creators in some way. It inspires you to be part creator, part consumer. That is the blend for us for all time. We think every person has creative potential.”

Rolling Stone was invited to try some demos of the technology and, while there were some issues, Brian Crecente described it as “a powerful experience” and said: “To see the physical world around me, and then those creations appearing not on it, as if some sort of animated sticker, but in it, was startling.”

As of yet, no pricing details or specific shipping dates have been announced, but this tech sounds very promising, so keep an eye out for Magic Leap next year.

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