Magic Leap's 'Big Demo' Is Just Another Teaser

Magic Leap's 'Big Demo' Is Just Another Teaser
July 11, 2018

We've waited nearly four years to see what Magic Leap's $2.3 billion magic is all about -- and how much of that magic the company's first headset, the Magic Leap One, can truly deliver. 


On Wednesday, that didn't quite happen -- but Magic Leap did finally announce a release date! The Magic Leap One will ship this summer, according to the company.


Magic Leap hosted its third livestream on Twitch -- you can watch a replay here -- and this time the company said it'd have a real demo in tow: "We'll dive into some Magic Leap One specs and share a demo of an upcoming developer sample," the company tweeted ahead of the event.


We watched the whole thing, and here's what we learned.


It's finally coming this summer.

Magic Leap has been in secretive, NDA-only stealth mode for so long it's hard to believe, but the company just announced right at the beginning of the stream: The first product will ship this summer -- and since we're already partway through summer, it's coming pretty soon eh? 


We already know where you'll be able to try and buy it, by the way: AT&T -- since Magic Leap announced that AT&T will get an exclusive on Magic Leap's products earlier this morning.


Do note that there's one hurdle that could potentially delay its release, though: It needs to get certified by the FCC. "This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained," read a message that accompanied Magic Leap's live stream.


Hello, specs!

Magic Leap hasn't dished out a lot of technical details quite yet, but the company did just tell us about the processor inside -- it's an Nvidia Tegra X2 system-on-chip with two of Nvidia's higher-than-usual-for-phones-power Denver processor cores inside.


They also say it runs on an undisclosed 64-bit Linux-based operating system with "lots of parts from other systems," and they're recommending that devs use the low-level Vulkan graphics API if they're building their own game engines. 


The company kind of dodged a question about power consumption by saying efficiency is up to Magic Leap's software developers, but Magic Leap had previously said battery life would be "several hours".


Our first demo?

We've never seen a live demo of Magic Leap in action, and that still hasn't changed -- the company showed us a pre-recorded demo, sadly. In a real-world living room, a real, flesh-and-blood hand does a "pinching" gesture to drop a digital object into the world, using a spherical mesh-like grid to show your literal sphere of influence.


The headset apparently detects horizontal surfaces like couches and tables, much like other AR experiences you might have recently tried from Google, Apple and Microsoft, so you can place them naturally in the real world -- so they look like they're sitting on top of your furniture, instead of awkwardly floating above them.


What you can't see in the 2D video, according to Magic Leap -- this cute little stone golem throws the rock right at you, which is something you'd be able to see and hear in 3D if you were actually wearing the headset. (That's because the Magic Leap hardware shows different images to each of your eyes, and includes built-in spacial audio.) 


Plus, you can actually dodge the rock by stepping to the side, or block it with your hands. Like some high-end VR headsets, the Magic Leap also has 6-degree-of-freedom sensors inside that can track your movements, and hand-tracking cameras.


Magic Leap's devs says a future demo will show the company driving a tiny car up their real-life walls and across a ceiling. 


Some limitations.

On the livestream, Magic Leap's developers were upfront that the current tech has some limitations. The headset's lenses can darken, but they don't go totally opaque -- meaning that immersive virtual reality games -- as opposed to augmented reality aren't likely with the Magic Leap One. You'd still see part of the real world. It also probably means that the experience may not be as immersive in bright light.


Also, the company says there's a limit to how close you can get to virtual objects and cute characters like the golem -- you'll clip right through them if you get too close. So you can't necessarily pick up a tiny digital panda and lift it right up in front of your eyes.

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