Magic Leap, the secretive start up that has raised over $2 billion and built a mixed reality headset that may one day completely change the way we view the world around us, hosted a livestream Wednesday where it demonstrated some of its new technology.
In a demo that seemed relatively simple, Magic Leap showed how users might interact with objects in the real world around them, as opposed to just seeing information through its special mixed reality headset.
Magic Leap, which has raised more than $2 billion from investors including Google, J.P Morgan, Alibaba and AT&T, showed a little character — a “gollum” stone figure — that was placed as a digital overlay into the real world. Someone wearing the special Magic Leap One headset, powered by an NVIDIA Tegra X2 chip, will be able to see this character anywhere they look, or wherever the gollum was programmed to pop up in their vision.
The gollum was used to demonstrate a “dodge” function that developers can build. It throws rocks at the person wearing the Magic Leap headset. A user can hold out his or her hand to block the rock so it shatters in place, or dodge it as the rock hit the wall behind them.
It might seem rudimentary, since it would be easy to replicate this on a smartphone’s 2D display. But this works in 3D, as if the gollum is real, standing on the floor in front of you with its projectile moving through the air toward your head.
The idea is that developers might be able to take something simple like this and make it much more complex: imagine a game in your living room where you’re avoiding multiple items from multiple characters flying at you, for example.
Magic Leap isn’t just about visuals. It can also make users feel immersed in the content through spatial audio, which means you can hear sounds around you, not just in front of you. The device can also calculate where the walls in the room around you are located, so objects (like the rock the gollum hurled in the demo) can shatter on impact.
Microsoft‘s HoloLens technology is similar to what Magic Leap demonstrated, so Magic Leap will need to prove how its product will be much different.
Developers will be able to purchase a “Creator Edition” of the Magic Leap One headset this summer before it launches to consumers later this year, exclusively through AT&T. The company has not said how much the headset will cost.