Elara Explores: Magic Leap Goggles

The Magic Leap One has been unveiled to the public at large, and hundreds of tech review sites are chomping at the bit to see if the product can live up to its own hype. For those unfamiliar with the AR tech company, its secretive production and flashy promotional videos have garnered over two billion dollars from investors. Videos of the actual product during its development cycle have been few and far in-between, giving the Magic Leap an air of mystery and hype the likes of which the tech industry hasn’t seen since the first iPhone’s production.

With the Magic Leap One’s release, both skeptics and investors alike now turn their attention towards the AR gadget. Is it as astounding as its marketing campaign has made it out to be? Is this tech the beginning of a new age in AR? Elara is here to help answer these questions and more, while also taking the time to share our insights on where we believe the Magic Leap One’s technology can best be used.

It’s important to remember that the ML1’s tag line defines it as the ‘Creator’s Edition’ of the AR tech. The product we’re reviewing is this company’s first step towards a grander vision of VR. The average, individual consumer, is not the ML1’s audience. Instead, Magic Leap has released their headset as a developer-facing toolkit, in an effort to help bring various applications and experiences for future consumers and enterprises alike.


An Overview of the Magic Leap One

The Magic Leap One is a wearable technology that rests around your head like goggles, allowing you to see projected visuals overlaid with your surroundings. It even goes a step beyond that by allowing the virtual display to interact with the world around the user. Sensors on the headwear take in information from the user’s surroundings to calculate the space that objects exist in, allowing virtual objects to rest on desks or hide behind boxes. This vastly helps bring the virtual environment and natural world together to create a dynamic and engaging form of augmented reality. To give an example, wearing the Magic Leap One might allow you to see various ‘virtual’ objects that can sit on your desk, like a calendar or an augmented display. It could even turn your living room into a creative playspace, allowing you to place a variety of virtual objects that realistically exist inside of its environment.

AR is taking the bold leap forward into spatial awareness technology by re-contextualizing the world around you into fully-realized 3D boundaries. The company endorses a future where daily activities are merged seamlessly with virtual objects and applications to augment the day to day with cutting-edge-technologies. With this headset, virtual post-it notes alongside a computer monitor and augmented user interfaces for various apps are a potential future for the working world.

With all of that said, can the ML1 deliver on its bold vision of what AR can do? We at Elara can only respond with a… ‘Kind of’. Critics of Magic Leap who wish to reprimand the company for its over-embellishing marketing campaigns would like to tell you that it fails miserably, while individual consumers might be prone to passing up on the device due to a lack of content available in its current form. However, Elara believes there’s quite a bit of merit in the technology presented. The HoloLens, a similar device that came out some years back, acts as our closest comparison to the Magic Leap One. If we were to compare the two, the ML1 would most likely represent the next model in a line of very similar technologies. A few new advancements like a larger field of view, but lacking enough new features to be considered a revolution for the AR industry.

But What Can It Do?

The Magic Leap One comes with a variety of different experiences pre-loaded into its Operating System. These demos showcase the various ways companies and individuals can make the most out of the Magic Leap’s functionalities. Virtual shopping, anatomical models designed to educate, and 3D scans of real-world places all demonstrate the power of this technology. While these demos may show merit on their own, bite-sized previews don’t offer much in terms of long-term usability.

Ultimately, Elara isn’t too worried about the device’s lack of content out-of-the-box. It is the Creator’s Edition after all, and these applications should be viewed as a preview of what AR is capable of pulling off. Now that the tech has been supplied, it’s up to creative studios like Elara to create experiences that­ will pull people towards Augmented Reality, and validate its role in the MR market.

So where does Elara see the ML1 within enterprise AR? Our immediate answer lies in business solutions we’ve already discussed using VR. Often times, bringing complex visualizations wherever you go can be near-impossible, but Augmented Reality allows you to place your high-concept products in the world around you. By utilizing 3D space, you can take large pieces of equipment or high-concept models virtually anywhere. Augmented Reality will also allow you to see these objects fit inside of the environment around them. In addition to this, its cutting-edge technology can elevate any conference or show-room floor to a new level. There’s no denying that these are AR’s early, early years of development. That intrigue can be used to generate a large crowd in a very small amount of time.

Elara also believes that the Magic Leap One should be utilized as a device that can provide additional external information to the pre-existing around its user. This would allow the user to explore and learn about various physical technologies in a completely new way. An anatomy model could quickly become a source of additional information by letting the ML1 overlay the physical model with detailed descriptions of various parts of the sculpture’s structure. Using the Magic Leap One, a complicated device could teach itself to you, the 3D peripheral pointing out various use cases while also elaborating on how to properly handle the device.

Out of all of the headsets currently available in the market, there has yet to be one specifically intended for the consumption of Enterprise. Right now, VR seems targeted towards the individual, whereas more and more of AR has been directed towards large and small businesses.  It may take longer for companies to completely understand the potential of being able to fully immerse their audience and grab their entire attention, but it brings to mind a very important question. What would a headset intrinsically designed for Enterprise VR look like? As businesses grow to understand the endless benefits VR provides, those of us at Elara will continue to vet the latest tech in the market. Currently, we’re looking forward to watching the following features rise in demand.

External Control

As it stands right now, both mobile VR and standalone headsets alike have little when it comes to external control. The Oculus Go currently has no way of launching or controlling apps outside of the headset, as well as no way to see what is currently running on an external screen. This can make it difficult to track the progress of what’s going on inside of the user’s headset. (Be sure to also check out our Oculus Go Enterprise post)

Kiosk Mode

Do we at Elara feel like virtual reality has the potential to dominate the education field with exceedingly high retention rates, immersion, and training through real-life-situations? Yes. Are we also aware that the viewer can quickly opt out of this with the simple tap of the ‘home’ button? Yes. There really isn’t any form of feature lockdown in most headsets currently out there to stop this from happening. This means that Kiosk attendees will have to help participants back into the experience after any erroneous button clicks.

Promising Step Forwards

At Elara it is clear to us that there isn’t a headset in the VR market that is primarily intended for Enterprise. The headspace of these products seems to revolve around the individual consumer, instead of the needs of a larger organization. However, this is likely to change as more and more of the world begins to understand the potential of VR. While that future might still be far off, the steps our tech takes every day shows just how far we’ve come. We’re fitting everything into a single package now while also keeping them cost-efficient for ease of distribution. The Oculus Go alone has helped carve out a huge territory for quick and effortless deployment.

In the end, it is up to experience-creators, like Elara, to help bring the world of Enterprise to VR, and Oculus has been a huge help in that creative process. The Go and Rift offer two incredibly different tools to the playing field, giving us the opportunity to distribute the perfect content for any clientele.

Learn more in our Virtual Reality in the Medical Field article.