The Magic Leap One
Check out the latest AR headset aiming to change the world
The future of visual technology isn’t only about VR – augmented reality (AR) is also advancing quickly, and soon ‘mixed reality’ headsets may become a common sight. These headsets project images onto small, translucent lenses in front of the wearer’s eyes, meaning they can see the world around them through the lenses but can also see other digital creations projected on top of their surroundings.
AR has already started to take off – right now you can download all kinds of AR apps to your phone that use the camera on the back to show the world with new, digital creations appearing onscreen. However, so far no manufacturer has quite managed to pull off the effect in a headset. Until now, that is.
Magic Leap has finished their first version of the One headset. The device makes this incredibly complex technology lightweight and wearable, and it does so without the need for a separate computer.
That’s because the brains and battery for the headset sit in a small, puck-like device that clips onto your trouser pocket. A cable runs up your back and into the headset… and that’s it. So you can move freely around a room without worrying about tripping over cables on the floor.
It’s a remarkable achievement, but don’t get too excited yet – this is still an early version of the hardware, designed so creators can make and test new ideas on the headset. Oh, and it costs $2,295 (around £1,800). Let’s take a look inside one to find out why it’s so costly…
“The device makes this incredibly complex technology lightweight and wearable”
Waveguides This magnesium frame holds six separate pieces of glass called waveguides. Light is projected into these and then reflected into the eye of the wearer. Outer lenses The holes in this outer casing are for the cameras that capture an image of the room around you. And, of course, you can see out of the lenses. Mini board On this cable are a number of small chips that analyse the data sent from the computer and work out how to display it through the light projectors. Eye tracking The tiny square camera at the bottom of this ring houses the eye-tracking camera. It helps the computer to know where you’re looking. Light projectors At each side of the headband are two light projectors. They emit red, blue and green light, which is projected into the waveguides and reflected into your eye, creating a perfect image. IR cameras One of these small camera units sits near each temple. An IR dot blaster fires IR light, and a camera sees where it bounces so the computer can create a digital image of your surroundings.
A wireless controller can be used to navigate through the interface or play games