Magic Leap 2 – the future of AR technology - UltraVR Media

Magic Leap 2 – the future of AR technology

Magic Leap 2 has already got a launch date and an estimated price. This is an upgraded model of the company’s augmented reality (AR) device, announced at the beginning of 2020. But that was shortly before the pandemic and just a couple of months after company co-founder Roni Abowitz abandoned his post as CEO.

Since its start-up in 2010, Magic Leap has gone through a rough time: an ambitious original project that failed to meet expectations.

The company’s most recent device, Magic Leap 2, represents advanced Magic Leap in different aspects. It is strongly promoted as a corporate solution, supposed to maintain a wider development without any attempts to promote the final product as innovation. Rather than inventing some new definitions, Magic Leap refers to it as an “AR headset.” Upon testing out VR at the Augmented World Expo event last week, we realized that, as a corporation, the Magic Leap 2 looks like a more grown-up product than it was before, and we are not talking about fancy design.

The most evident upgrade in Magic Leap 2 is the FOV, which improved from 50 to 70 degrees diagonally. At 70-degree FOV, Magic Leap looks like it’s about to start tickling the immersion itch since the user got more space to observe the augmented stuff surrounding him, meaning that customers spend less time looking for something when it’s outside their FOV.

While this isn’t bad if your focus is only on augmented media (to be honest, such devices have been performing this since the release date), it’s a hesitant, risky concept for VR that’s intended to combine real-life and the virtual universe. So actual world picture stays HoloLens 2’s signature feature compared to ML1 and ML2, but we will discuss it later.

Compared to several AR headsets, Magic Leap (like its previous version) has a rather soft boundary surrounding player FOV. Rather than a harsh line dividing the real world from the virtual reality, it does vanish smoothly, leaving the moments outside the display less harsh.

Another immersive feature compared to other gadgets is the built-in headset darkening feature, which can dynamically adjust the screen’s brightness to lessen environmental light, so that augmented content looks more consistent. Sadly, this was a piece of the VR that I could not test out during the showcase, as the project director was more involved in demonstrating particular options. The other thing I couldn’t experience correctly was the high resolution; rest assured, we will prepare more information after the next presentation event.

Tracking performance is still as smooth as the ML2 and is just as good as HoloLens. The content is bound precisely to the surroundings whenever the user turns his head around. I have noticed a significant fuzziness, mostly during the positional motion of my head. There was a similar problem in the ML1, which probably rolled over into the display technology behind the headset. Anyway, it seems hidden when a player “is standing still” and has a more effect on the readability of the text over anything else. While the issue of inconsistency of the colors all over the image is thinner (a kind of “rainbow”), it is still quite noticeable. This does not affect the usability of the headset, but it slightly decreases the immersive effect of the picture.

An early focus on gaming ingrained the device’s public product as a consumer-oriented device, regardless of its commercial purpose. In late 2019, against redundancies and questions about the company’s future, Magic Leap changed its course, offering such headsets to the healthcare, industry, professional design, and security industries.

Although the current device has upgraded in almost all aspects, one missing feature that was one of the most favored functions of the ML1: the special “photonic light-field module,” which is no longer available, although the ML2 includes eye-tracking (probably improved by having twice as many cameras), it only works for a single focal point (like almost every AR device available nowadays).


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