Magic Leap: The Future of AR?

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Augmented reality, or AR, has been a fascinating technology for a while now. The idea is tantalizing— seeing holograms interact with the real world is truly something straight out of an 80’s movie’s depiction of the future. We’ve really only just begun to scratch the surface of consumer AR—we’ve had fun games like Pokemon Go introduce us to very basic incarnations of the technology, but what lies ahead is far more intriguing.

In recent years, we’ve been introduced to a wealth of AR headsets—but some just haven’t found a lot of success, like the Google Glass, and some just are still at a stage where they are really only valuable to developers, like the Microsoft HoloLens.

But I want to focus in on one specific headset that has been teased for quite a while—the Magic Leap One. The headset itself was first unveiled at the end of 2017, but videos of the technology have been shown at much earlier dates, such as this hologram of a miniature elephant standing in the palms of a human that was published in 2014. On the surface, the Magic Leap One doesn’t seem incredibly different from its competitors: through the headset, holograms are projected onto the actual environment surrounding the user. And, like the HoloLens, the Magic Leap One isn’t at the consumer phase yet. In fact, it hasn’t even released its developer-targeted “Creator” version yet, which is due out sometime this year. But, it’s the passion behind Magic Leap One that really intrigues me.

To learn more about both the technology and the company, I went over to the “Stories” section of the Magic Leap website, and read their first post. In post written by Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz. Abovitz talks at length about his intention to make the Magic Leap platform into a “creative hub” for a variety of different mediums. This post really best points to what I think separates the Magic One from competitors—the artistic nature behind it. True, it might just be market-speak to say you want to revolutionize the way artists create and share art—but to that I’d say this: just look at their website. Rather than showing some pictures of the headset next to captions with incredibly difficult to understand tech terminology on the home page, we are shown images of a three-dimensional cartoon-style knight on the back of a sea turtle, and an illustration of an astronaut looking into the horizon on an alien planet. If that doesn’t scream artistic, I don’t know what does.

I believe it’s this artistry, alongside some truly stunning tech, that has allowed Magic Leap to raise $1.4 billion from the likes of Warner Bros. and Google.

It’s too early to tell exactly what Magic Leap will be—could it really be the “creative hub” Abovitz talks about in his post, or will it fade away like the Google Glass? Regardless, anyone interested in creating, sharing, and consuming art of any form should be excited and keeping their eyes on this potentially-revolutionary product.

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About the author

Colin Capenito is a 17 year old from Worcester, MA and is a member of the St. Mark’s School Class of 2019. He sees St. Mark’s as a great doorway to many new opportunities. He has been interested in filmmaking and writing ever since he was very young, and is constantly looking for ways to improve his skills in both areas. He plans to get a degree in filmmaking, and hopes to one day be able to move to Hollywood and accomplish his dream of making movies. Some of his other interests include computer science, robotics, baseball, and travelling. He is always looking for new challenges that will shape his future.

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