Tech startup Magic Leap, headquartered in Plantation, Florida, has recently unveiled its new mixed reality headset which is available to buyers in the US at the price of $2,295. It is the first product made by a company with over $2 billion in funding from behemoths such as Google and Alibaba. The company has been working in secrecy for nearly seven years with little to no information on any product development until recently. Its CEO, Rony Abovitz, claims that Magic Leap’s hardware will “transcend what can be contained in a physical product.” With this much support from popular companies and a large following from tech enthusiasts, how well does the new headset live up to the hype?
The Magic Leap One is a three-piece system that includes a headset called Lightwear, a handheld controller, and a small wearable computer called the Lightpack. It is lined with tracking cameras for environment mapping as well as eye-tracking cameras within the headset. Let’s compare it to a competing product, Microsoft’s HoloLens, released in March 2016. This device was criticized for having a narrow field of view – the area in which the user could view 3 dimensional objects – at about 34.5 degrees, which means only a small portion of the user’s vision was augmented. The Magic Leap One suffers from the same issue; its horizontal field of view is 40 degrees which is larger than the HoloLens but still considerably small compared to current VR headsets.
It seems like this would be a major issue that would stifle the headset’s success and make it unsuitable for consumers. However, Abovitz stressed that it’s a “full-blown, working consumer-grade product,” not a prototype. AT&T is even planning to offer demos in some of its stores later this year.
What do you think of this latest advancement in augmented reality? Do you believe AR/Mixed Reality is the future of computing, or do you think it’s just a fad?