New Magic Leap Footage Shows Office Solar Systems and Hiding Robots


Magic Leap debuted some footage of their mysterious tech at WSJDLive today, a yearly conference held by The Wall Street Journal featuring some of the biggest names in tech.

Update: A much better quality video was posted by Magic Leap after publishing this piece. It’s embedded at the top of this article – the original is kept here for context.

A video taken by Engadget senior editor Nicole Lee shows a robot hiding under a desk, which according to some imprinted text was “shot directly through Magic Leap technology on October 14, 2015. No special effects or compositing were used in the making of this video.” CEO and founder Rony Abovitz narrates.

Magic Leap has attracted over a half billion dollars in funding this time last year, and has since snapped up the likes of sci-fi author Neal Stephenson, former VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff, and programming legend Graeme Devine to name a few.

magic leap rony abovitz
Magic Leap Founder and CEO Rony Abovitz

The company is currently building a digital light field projection display that according to everyone who gets to see it (and signs the required NDA), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. With their technology largely still under wraps up until now, we only had few concept videos that allude what could be possible with the company’s future AR headset.

In the video, we see a few interactions that may cue us into how far Magic Leap is on their journey to a consumer AR wearable. The little robot is accurately occluded by the table leg, which means machine vision is correctly ‘guessing’ where the real world object is in physical space, but the solar system presented in the next portion of the demo is clearly much less able to ‘stick in place’. The question still remains of how large the device itself is, and whether it can be worn like Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset.

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All these questions and more are sure to be answered in time, but just how long is still a matter of speculation. Abovtiz told Engadget that “We’re not ready to announce when we’re shipping, but it gives you a signal that we’re not far.”

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Don Gateley

    Your video doesn’t play. You must be doing some tracking which it has become necessary to block.

    • Scott Hayden

      Hi Don. You’ll find that both videos play now. The culprit was our back end editor on this one. Thanks for the tip off!

  • elecman

    The tracking is indeed a bit wobbly. SLAM tracking is only accurate to about 1% which really isn’t good enough for AR. I would be interested if this can be combined with a fixed based tracking system.

  • bji

    How does the resolution look to you? It looks pretty good to me. Much better than my DK2 anyway. Is Magic Leap a screen based technology or something else? Something like a scanning laser or something that projects directly into the eye?

    • JeanClaude

      It projects directly into the eye as far as I understand.

      It was designed based form some medical tech, that can shoot light from a tiny camera you insert into someones body, and the light can be targeted very precisely at very specific wavelengths, etc. It was used to try and kill of cancer cells or something like that.

      The idea is that, this projector can project individual rays of light and perfectly control all aspect of it. So if they manage to miniaturize the tech, and up it’s resolution, it can shoot individual rays into your eyes, simulating exactly the light that would come to your from the real world. Giving you a perfect reproduction.

  • Zach

    I really don’t get the giddy secrecy from magic leap. I think oculus and valve took the right approach to open things up as much as possible and spread the responsibility of creating a market to many players. Magic leap reeks of the segway personal transporter, remember ‘revolutionary’, ‘world changing’, ‘things will never be the same’ … I do. And it turned out to be a novelty for rich goofballs. I completely understand not building hype until there is something to show (like the ‘unlimited detail technology’ from Euclideon) , or trying to be first to market to keep others from arriving first, like the iphone… unless they really think it’s going to be like the iphone. In any case, the open community building approach is far better in my opinion.

    • bji

      “a novelty for rich goofballs” I don’t know why, I just love that turn of phrase. I’m going to use it often. There are no shortage of targets for that description these days!

    • augure

      It IS the better approach. But oh well, more rooms for other innovators. Whatever this Magic Leap thing is, seems to me like it’s build around unnecessary hype that will surely end-up being too much expectation for something that works as well as the Hololens (bad).

    • As the owner of MANY PDA’s before iPhone, I can tell you they weren’t first to market with anything. Everything in that device existed before in others, and in many ways, better. That being said, I do see alot of things in their demo that do exist already. LADAR devices like the Kinect can scan an environment in real-time. Their display tech, which EnGadget researched, does sound interesting, maybe even revolutionary. But there is no bridge between these things that would allow for a small, head-mountable device, not to mention the computing power to drive it all. I think their latest demo was powered by a full-size PC in concert with a Kinect-like device attached to the camera. That blurry “Focusing” effect is CG, having nothing to do with the camera itself.