The Magic Leap One

Check out the lat­est AR head­set aim­ing to change the world

How It Works - - CONTENTS -

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

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