Tech

VR: Magic Leap shows how your office can be turned into a war zone

Updated: 2015-03-20
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Magic Leap, the secretive augmented reality glasses start-up, has provided a rare glimpse into the capabilities of its technology. 
 
The company, who received $542 million (£352 million) in funding by Google, today released a video that showcases its augmented reality graphics in a real-life setting. 
 
Titled 'Just another day in the office of Magic Leap', the clip shows an office worker scrolling down his email inbox, which appears in front of him as a hologram. 
   

Titled 'Just another day in the office of Magic Leap', the clip shows an office worker scrolling down his email inbox, which appears in from of him as a hologram
    
The Magic Leap user then opens up a series of holographic folders in front of him using hand gestures. 
 
After clicking on a video game icon, a game automatically loads and the user is placed in a virtual reality game setting instantly. 
   
He then picks up a real toy ray gun and uses it against an army of virtual reality invading robots. 
 
The video ends with the logos of Magic Leap and Weta Workshop, the special effects team behind movies like 'Lord of the Rings'. 
   

He then opens up a series of holographic folders in front of him using hand gestures.After clicking on a video game icon, a game automatically loads and the user is placed in a virtual reality game setting instantly.
   
The Florida-based company was meant to show at the TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this week, but mysteriously cancelled its appearance. 
 
Its system is currently one of the most highly-anticipated, and secretive, virtual reality glasses in development. 
 
Last month, the company revealed some details about its augmented reality glasses - although it appears the technology still needs a full trolley of parts to work. 
 
The 3D system operates by shining images on the retina, creating an augmented reality which combines fictional characters with the real world.      
  
The Magic Leap user then picks up a toy ray gun and uses it against an army of virtual reality invading robots
  

The Florida-based company was meant to show at the TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this week, but mysteriously cancelled its appearance. Its system is currently one of the most highly-anticipated, and secretive, virtual reality glasses in development. Pictured is a scene from the video
      
Rachel Metz, writing for MIT Technology Review, was able to test out one of the larger systems which will compete with the likes of Facebook's Oculus Rift and Microsoft's HoloLens. 
  
'Magic Leap had to come up with an alternative to stereoscopic 3-D – something that doesn't disrupt the way you normally see things,' she wrote. 
 
'As I see crisply rendered images of monsters, robots, and cadaver heads in Magic Leap's offices, I can envision someday having a video chat with faraway family members who look as if they're actually sitting in my living room while, on their end, I appear to be sitting in theirs. 
 
'Or walking around New York City with a virtual tour guide, the sides of buildings overlaid with images that reveal how the structures looked in the past.' 
  
She says the experience is like 'watching movies where the characters appear to be right in front of me, letting me follow them around as the plot unfolds.' 
   
The company appears to be aiming to fit its technology into a chunky pair of sports sunglasses wired to a square pack that users can place in their pocket. 
 
But the prototype that Ms Meltz used was fixed on 'unwieldy scaffolding'. 
 
The company won't say how it will shrink its device, but chief executive Rony Abovitz has confirmed that the headset will be a glasses-like system. 
 
Despite the secrecy surrounding the system, it has been deemed exciting enough for Google to have invested around $500 million.   
 
Other investors included Qualcomm, the world's leading phone chipmaker, Andreessen Horowitz, KKR, and Legendary Entertainment. 
 
In January, an extensive patent not only showed how the augmented reality headset could look and work, it also provides a number of example uses. 
 
The patent was filed in July 2014 by chief executive Rony Abovitz, and was awarded earlier this week. 
 
It features a total of 180 pages and drawings detailing the look, functionality and uses for the device. 
 
In terms of design, the headset resembles skiing goggles, connected to a battery pack. 
 
The headset connects to a network, which then connects to a so-called 'passable world model.' 
 
This model is created using a database of objects and 'object recognisers'. 
 
Sensors can also track the wearer's location and position, to make sure images are overlaid on the real world as accurately as possible, with the correct depth and proportions. 
   
Buttons on the visor could act like a 'home screen', to take wearers to menus, for example. 
 
While other sensors could recognise finger commands such as focus, copy, select, back or cancel, and right clicks. 
 
Mr Abovitz recently said: 'We have the term 'cinematic reality' because we are disassociated with those things. 
 
'When you see this, you will see that this is computing for the next 30 or 40 years. 
 
'To go farther and deeper than we're going, you would be changing what it means to be human.' 
 
The soon-to-be defunct Google Glass, already lets users see augmented reality. 
 
Using a particular app for example, runners can wear the glasses to see monsters chasing them. 
 
The Magic Leap patent shows how its headset could be used in a similar way by cyclists, for example. 
 
Google Glass also superimposes information on the periphery of a wearer's vision. 
 
Facebook spent $2 billion buying Oculus last year, which makes a virtual reality headset, mostly aimed at gamers. 
 
Unlike Magic Leap's future device, it blocks out the real world around the user. 
 
Gamers hope Facebook and Google's involvement in the virtual reality space will accelerate the technology, which would make playing games and watching films more realistic, as well as creating other immersive experiences. 
 
A release date and price for the Magic Leap headset have not been revealed.
 
SOURCE:
dailymail.co.uk
  
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