Last December, Magic Leap lifted the veil on his augmented reality glasses, which had been making a lot of headlines for several years without us knowing exactly whether it was another standard AR product or a technological revolution. After another few long months of silence, the Florida-based company, which managed to raise 2.2 billion dollars (2 billion euros) for this project, finally announced something concrete for the launch of its Magic Leap One glasses. This will be released this summer in the US.
No precise date for the moment, but we do know that the product will be distributed exclusively by the AT&T operator with whom an agreement has just been sealed. As far as price is concerned, Magic Leap has not given up anything more than his initial indication that glasses should cost at least as much as a high-end smartphone. Based on the prices of an iPhone X or a Samsung Galaxy S9+, the Magic Leap One could be worth between 1,000 and 1,500 dollars, at least.
In a long video presentation broadcast via the Twitch platform (which can be viewed on YouTube), developers in charge of the project delivered some technical elements on the hardware and software configuration of their AR glasses. We learn that it uses a SoC (system on a chip) Tegra X2 from NVidia that incorporates two 64-bit ARM processors. The operating system is a hybrid creation that includes 64-bit Linux as well as loans “to other systems” that are not mentioned. On the other hand, we still do not know what is the autonomy of Magic Leap One nor how it manages the execution of applications (locally or via Internet ?).
What about the actual AR field of view ?
The presentation was punctuated by extracts demonstrating how the helmet works. We discover a game featuring a golem that the user “installs” into the real setting with finger pinching gestures. Visual cues let you know where you can insert virtual objects. The character integrates into the environment in a credible way, sometimes on the ground, on a sofa or the work surface of a kitchen.
Note that the headset not only detects hand movements, but also the user’s movements. When the golem throws a rock in its direction, it can avoid it by taking a side step or block it with its hand. It will be up to video game and application developers to make the most of these capabilities. The demonstration is quite convincing, but let us remember that it has been pre-recorded and that we do not know if it has been embellished or not. We remember that Magic Leap admitted having used special effects for some of his previous demonstrations.
One of the remaining questions concerns the real field of vision provided by the Magic Leap One, which will necessarily be restricted to a frame. The same question had arisen with the demonstrations of HoloLens glasses from Microsoft which suggested a total immersion whereas the vision in real conditions was more limited. As for the Magic Leap One, we should know more about it and how it works as soon as it is on the market.