Augmented reality is set to be the future of technology – both in the home and the workplace. Magic Leap is one of the most innovative leaders in the wearable technology industry, and it may not be long before you see their headsets widening your perspective everywhere.
Founded in 2011 by Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap is a major player in the implementation of mixed reality headsets into industrial and personal scenarios. Their headset, Magic Leap One, combines digital displays with the real world by scanning the room around you and superimposing the augmented elements onto the walls and furniture in front of you.
Unlike other virtual- and augmented-reality headsets, the Magic Leap One combines incredible processing and clarity into a lightweight and comfortable piece of wearable technology. There are three main components; the Lightwear headset; the Lightpack processing computer; and a handheld controller.
Crammed into the Lightpack is an integrated GPU and CPU which generate high-fidelity graphics to create incredible virtual worlds. This pack is portable and is built with a slit through the middle – so it clips perfectly on to your pocket. Because you’re not wired to a desktop, you can roam, explore, spin and jump through the computerised world without limitation.
Founder Rony Abovitz has always focussed on ensuring that the proliferation of technology into our everyday lives works with our bodies – rather than a human forcing their body to work with the technology. People often experience nausea when using virtual reality or augmented reality headsets due to the separation from the real world. Magic Leap, however, want to eliminate this by integrating the digital world with the physical seamlessly.
“We treat human biology as our center point. Everyone already has a head-mounted display. It’s your head!”Rony Abovitz – Magic Leap Founder
The Lightwear headset uses computer vision to scan and digitise the room around the user into a mesh, so that the digital objects can interact in 3 dimensions with the furniture in the room. The digital elements are then projected onto the lens of the headset to allow the user to see them overlaid onto the real world.
This is an alternative approach to most digital reality systems as it does not project images straight onto the eye. This reduces eye strain and greatly reduces the effects of nausea during extensive use.
The team behind the Magic Leap One are keen to say that this is not solely an object of entertainment, but also for improving productivity in the workplace. However, the only currently released version is the Creator Edition – used by designers and developers to experience how they can adapt current and new experiences for a mixed-reality future.
With Linux-based operating system Lumin at the helm, users can see installed applications and features (experiences) displayed as floating balls. From this page, one may wish to browse the web by tapping on the orb for ‘Helio’ – Magic Leap’s AR specific web browser. Using this native application, you could browser a shopping site for, say, a new chair, and then pull the image from the page to see a 3D rendition of how that piece of furniture would look in the room you’re in.
Rather stream your favourite show while cooking dinner? With the Screens Experience you can watch up to four screens at once. You can fix them to one position in your field of view, or hang the video on a static position on a wall in the room you’re in. Eye tracking allows you to only hear the audio from the video you’re looking at, muting all of the others. Want to focus on a TV show while working on something else? Set all other screens to permanent mute so you can check the game score while following along with a cooking show recipe.
As well as this, you can play games, hang out in chat rooms with holographic avatars of your friends, and create a world full of robotic jellyfish, castles, and pretty much anything else you could imagine. The speakers embedded in the headband direct spatial audio straight into the ear, but can be swapped for headphones or external speakers plugged into the 3.5mm jack in the Lightpack for a more immersive experience.
Magic Leap are developing more intuitive interaction options for the experiences available on the Lumin OS. Speech to text technology uses voice recognition to communicate with the digital elements, and hand gesture control can be used to affect virtual items. Even with all of this technology and required processing power, the built-in lithium ion battery can still provide up to 3 hours of continuous use.
Worried about wearing glasses with the headset? Spectacles cannot be worn with the Lightwear, but the developers have teamed up with Frames Direct to provide custom prescription inserts which can easily be snapped into place using the magnetic fixing.
Although the Magic Leap One is not yet available in the UK, this technology is getting a lot of interest and funding from major technology companies, including Google and the Alibaba Group. Therefore, it may not be long before you could get your hands on this future-reaching technology.
Even though augmented reality is not yet the norm in most workplaces, your IT systems shouldn’t be stuck in the past. Get in touch with our knowledgeable team to find out how we can help you to bring your computers, connections or phones up to date.