Deep inside a nondescript building in Plantation, Florida, Magic Leap has built a gadget that is real, and cool, and can mix three-dimensional virtual images with reality better than any other augmented or mixed-reality headset--whatever you want to call it--that I've seen. The big question now is: what will people do with this thing? The company hopes developers and other creative types will start coming up with answers shortly. Because today Magic Leap will start selling its long-awaited first gadget, a pair of black, tinted, fly-eyed goggles called Magic Leap One. You'll first have to register as a developer--the company hopes a community of developers will emerge to build apps for the headset, as they do for smartphones--and shell out $2,295 for it (for comparison, Microsoft's HoloLens headset, also still aimed at developers, costs $3,000 or $5,000).
It's that time of year again: the special season where everybody's favorite mythical creature makes its annual appearance. Seemingly once a year, the secretive startup reveals what it's been up to and, on Wednesday, revealed renderings of its latest AR headset prototype. The company even deigned to allow a Rolling Stone reporter to take the system for a spin. But for everything that Magic Leap showed off, the demonstrations and teaser materials still raise as many questions than they answer. There's a whole lot about the Magic Leap system that we don't know, so maybe let's hold off on losing our minds about the perceived imminent AR revolution until we do.
No, I haven't had a psychedelic sandwich for lunch. I've just been wearing what looks like a pair of oversize swim goggles, attached to a Discman thingy on my hip--the Magic Leap One Creator Edition. These augmented-reality goggles put virtual objects in the real world, unlike virtual-reality goggles, which block it out. Think "Pokémon Go" but far more realistic and potentially useful. If you haven't been following Silicon Valley's mounting interest in AR, it's time.
Rony Abovitz has never been one for direct information. Over the past few years, the Magic Leap founder has confounded people with not-exactly-updates about his company's not-exactly-vaporware mixed-reality system--especially on Twitter, where he's been given to statements like "We are not chasing perfection - we are chasing'feels good, feels right'. So last week, when he dropped this teaser, many assumed it would lead to just another YouTube video of frustrating breadcrumbs.