After the rumors, the teasers and the photos, one of the most expected augmented reality headsets has officially been launched. Magic Leap One, the innovative AR device developed by a start-up that made headlines with its feat of securing over $2 billion in funding, can now be purchased – so far only by creators of AR experiences.
Secrecy, Years of Development and an Innovative Concept
Magic Leap One Creator’s Edition – the full name of the augmented reality headset – is the result of over seven years of development work by the team at Magic Leap. The startup came to the attention of the whole world when it convinced companies such as Google, JP Morgan, Alibaba and even the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to fund its project.
Thus, Magic Leap managed to obtain an aggregate amount in excess of $2.3 billion to develop a brand new concept: a fully standalone, tetherless augmented reality headset capable of delivering advanced and extremely realistic AR experiences. However, at the moment of obtaining these funds, the company did not have a single product on the market, or even an MVP.
A New Concept: Bringing Together the Real and Digital Worlds
Why did Magic Leap cause such a buzz around its idea? It is not the first startup to work on an augmented reality headset – the market already has Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. What Magic Leap proposes to create is a world where real and digital blend together, where computer generated images are superimposed on the physical environment and there is no need to take a break from working on the computer to see the world outside.
This new concept will certainly revolutionize the way professionals and regular people work on the computer, connect to each other in the online world and keep themselves entertained.
How the Augmented Reality Headset Created by Magic Leap Works
Magic Leap One Creator’s Edition consists of three elements:
- The headset called Lightwear
- A portable computing unit called Lightpack
- A handheld controller
The magic in Magic Leap One Creator’s Edition is the proprietary “photonics chip” developed by the company and included in the Lightwear headset. This chip makes Magic Leap One work differently from other augmented reality headsets in the sense that it projects light straight into the wearer’s eye. According to the company, “Magic Leap One’s unique design and technology lets in natural light waves together with softly layered synthetic lightfields creating unbelievably believable experiences.”
There is a lot of powerful hardware inside the Magic Leap One Creator’s Edition headset in order to deliver such a realistic AR experience as described above.
The Lightwear Headset:
- Audio output: onboard speakers and 3.5 mm headphones jack with audio spatialization processing
- Audio input: text to speech and ambient sound (real world audio)
The Lightpack Computing Unit:
- CPU: NVIDIA Parker SOC; 3 Denver 2.0 64-bit cores and 4 ARM Cortex A57 64-bit cores
- GPU: NVIDIA Pascal, 256 CUDA cores; Graphics APIs: Open GL 4.5, Vulkan OpenGL ES 3.3+;
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, USB-C
- Storage capacity: 128 GB (available 95 GB)
- RAM: 8 GB
- Power: built-in rechargeable Li-Ion batter capable of up to 3 hours of continuous use.
- Tracking: 6 DoF for positioning and orientation
- Haptics; LRA haptic device
- Trackpad: touch sensitive
- LEDs: 12-LED (RGB) ring with diffuser
- Inputs: 8-bit resolution Trigger button; Digital Bumper Button; Digital Home Button
- Power: built-in rechargeable Li-Ion battery capable of up to 7.5 hours of continuous use; 15-watt USB-C charger.
Price and Availability
Just like any other brand new innovative product, Magic Leap One Creator’s Edition is not cheap. The retail price is $2,250 per unit. However, even if you have the money to splurge on this augmented reality headset, you may not qualify to purchase.
The Creator Edition is intended for developers who work on augmented reality apps and experiences, cinematographers, and other professionals who are involved in the world of augmented reality.
In case you are one of them, here is what you can expect to receive in your box (which will, by the way, be hand-delivered to your doorstep by the company itself and they’d personally get you set up):
- Lightpack and Charger
- Control and Charger
- 2 USB-C Cables
- AC Power Cable
- Wrist Lanyard
- Cleaning Cloth
- Fit Kit (includes additional pads)
The product is currently being shipped to only a few specified locations in the United States – Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco (Bay Area), Seattle, Chicago and New York. Magic Leap should be adding more cities to the list of eligible shipping destinations this autumn.