Magic Leap: Into A World Where Reality Meets Fantasy

INITION is one of the first companies in the UK to get its hands on the very latest headset device using augmented reality.

The long-awaited Magic Leap is a pioneer in the tech world. A mixed-reality system that promises to immerse you in an environment that blends computer-generated imagery with the physical world in a way that’s designed to convince you that those 3D objects and characters are actually there in the room with you.

The company claims its “magical leap” was figuring out how to use digital and natural light to render 3D objects in real time, and to beam them into your eyes in a way that lets you process what you’re seeing as you would the natural world. All very magical stuff. Indeed, when you power up, put the headset on and scan the room, it’s almost like stepping into Alice in Wonderland, both figuratively and literally since the different demos have a dreamlike, cartoon world quality about them.

“You see robots collapse on the sofa and then fall off, then you realise what just happened. Amazing.”

This use of retinal projection ostensibly creates more solid looking objects, making them feel physically present rather than hologram overlays, as is the case with other similar devices. The format is portable, allowing a free roaming experience like HoloLens. Scanning the room encourages you to travel to different parts of it and press buttons, follow signs and sometimes you do feel like you are in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“I’m really impressed with it. The headset is not as weighty as most others, the field of view is improved, it’s great for distant and near objects” said one of the INITION team as they eagerly tried out the new gadget.

However, when the dust of the first wow impression is over, the different technical issues seem to come at the fore and you realise that the field of view, although improved from the equivalent on the Hololens, is still restricted and so it can feel like watching HDTV through the letterbox. Your peripheral vision cannot be augmented. The objects still feel like they are floating above or in front of the real physical world rather than perceptually in it.

The main computer is rather heavy and putting it in a pocket might not be the best solution. Obviously, there is a trade-off in the quest for miniaturisation, it is at the end of the day a wearable, but it should not be felt cumbersome when worn. So for the time being, perhaps it is the enterprise world that will benefit most before it becomes a commonplace consumer item. Technology becomes adopted when it becomes invisible so they say.

But let’s not underestimate that this is a first try from Magic Leap. We expect technology to deliver immediately, but there is always a path to travel – prototype to perfection. We might be guilty of overrating most current developments, yet we continually underestimate their future impact. The time is coming when we won’t even notice that there is a wearable – headset, glasses, contact lens – in which the virtual world will merge with our physical one and create a seamless blend. We are not there yet and we need to take small steps. We need to play, test, try, sometimes fail and quickly learn.

After being hyped in the industry for a long time and receiving over $2bn funding, we’re very excited to see if all that has been promised will ultimately be delivered. Only available in America currently, we are thrilled to have sourced one and to be one of the first few companies to have it on board.

Stuart Cupit, INITION CTO said: “The Magic Leap gives our clients the potential to utilise the very latest in augmented reality technology to create an immersive experience that will compel and engage their target audience. They can be forerunners to benefit their business through a ground-breaking project.”

We showcased the Magic Leap at Retailed Recharged in October, the first time the device has been used in a public setting. In the coming weeks, the team at INITION will be trialling Magic Leap in a variety of settings, assessing  what it has to offer that its competitors don’t, and working out what might be improved. We’ll then be feeding back our thoughts to the developers, in the hope that we are able to play a part in the evolution of the product.

This may not be a giant leap but it’s certainly a significant baby step into a new reality. If you would like to take a look for yourself and discuss how Augmented Reality could benefit your business please get in touch.