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Magic Leap CEO Promises Production Tests Have Begun For 'Mixed Reality' Headsets (mashable.com) 54

"[A]fter a particularly critical report earlier this week, the notoriously secretive company appears to be in damage control mode," writes Mashable. An anonymous reader summarizes their report: Thursday a reporter "highlighted the company's first promotional video as more Weta Workshop special effects than a direct example of Magic Leap technology," and announced on Reddit that "employees in the company were concerned about [the first video] being misleading to the public" -- which apparently provoked a response Friday from the company's CEO.

"The message at first appears to be a simple status update, but then Abovitz gets more specific, indicating that the blog post is almost certainly an indirect response to the previous day's critical story. 'The units we are building now are for engineering and manufacturing verification/validation testing, early reliability/quality testing, production line speed, and a bunch of other important parameters. There is also a lot more going in our development of software, applications, cool creative experiences and overall operational readiness. Stay tuned -- the fun is just beginning.'"

Mashable adds that when reached for a comment, "the company gave a similarly short 'stay tuned' message, hinting that something may finally be about to be revealed. Or not... [W]ith billions on the line, it's beginning to look like the secretive, NDA-fueled, hype-framed honeymoon is over."
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Magic Leap CEO Promises Production Tests Have Begun For 'Mixed Reality' Headsets

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday December 11, 2016 @12:38PM (#53463733) Homepage Journal

    Mixed reality = this clown's press releases.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday December 11, 2016 @12:56PM (#53463831)

    This comapny is simply repeating the "Secure VC millions based on hot air then go bust on purpose" model of the dot com era.

    • Except they have more than hot air; they have genuinely interesting technology. I say this with some confidence because of *who* invested, and how much. You don't get the likes of Google, Qualcomm and Intel to toss you hundreds of millions with nothing more than a video with a Weta logo on it.

      Granted they do not have a shippable product, and may still be some distance from one. This is not unusual. But magically leaping to the conclusion that he will *never* have one is certainly premature.

      I've found it fas

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        > they have genuinely interesting technology.

        I've been hearing about the promise of Magic Leap for years now. So much so it become the Duke Nukem of the VR world. IMHO If they actually had anything cool and also on any level do-able it would have been in a product by now.

        Look at this article:
        http://fortune.com/2016/12/09/... [fortune.com]

        According to it, the headset they actually have is the size of a helmet, not the sunglasses thing that all the hype has made out, and the demo they posted on youtube over a year ago a

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          ...and also if they actually had anything interesting there wouldn't be any need for this level of wierd cloak and dagger secrecy around it. Its nothing but a total hype machine.

        • IMHO

          You're welcome to your own opinion, but my point is that the opinion of the far-better-informed investors is rather more credible. The number of years you've been hearing about it is not particularly relevant to the feasibility of the product.

          the headset they actually have is the size of a helmet

          Sure, that's a working prototype - the one that performs the lightfield projections that (AFAIK) no other company has demonstrated anything close to (NVIDIA have showed [nvidia.com] a low-res display-only system, and Microsoft's Hololens, while impressive in many ways, uses ordinar

          • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

            They've been holding onto this for so long that if they actually do ever come out with anything, there will allready be better stuff out. HTC, Oculus already are better not least because you can actually buy it, and Microsoft won't be standing still either.

            • You forgot the 'IMHO'. HTC and Oculus have an entirely different product (VR not AR, and the usual single-focus-plane display that has the same accommodation/vergence conflict that all the others do, including Microsoft), so unless ML have to give up on their lightfield approach altogether, then they're really not comparable.

              Time will tell, but until it does, it's far too early to write them off completely. They have enough backing to sustain a lot more research and engineering if required.

              • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

                >> You forgot the 'IMHO'.

                So did you.

              • by Anonymous Coward
                backing for research and engineering quickly dries up if you never deliver. Google and Intel are especially not forgiving for projects that don't deliver and have shown in the past to not be afraid to write off bad investments.
      • Magic leap has been promised for years now and so far has delivered a big fat Zero. Meanwhile VR products like HTC and Oculus are available right now and AR with MS. Their amazing promises are on the verge of being outpaced by whats already iterating in the market if they aren't available real fucking fast. Even large companies like google, Qualcomm and Intel regularly invest in things that bomb.
        • Magic leap has been promised for years now

          What promises [magicleap.com]? Are you sure you haven't confused the artificial hype from the countless media stories with actual claims from Magic Leap themselves? They have never publicly announced a release date or a product, and have only ever dropped vague hints about their technology.

          Even large companies like google, Qualcomm and Intel regularly invest in things that bomb.

          How often do those companies invest hundreds of millions in relatively-unknown startups?

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        They only have "genuinely interesting technology" if you take their bullshit videos at face value. But if you step back and look at the state of the art in VR / AR, display technology, image / signal processing, motion / gesture recognition, CPU / GPU processing, battery life etc. you have to wonder how anyone would take them that seriously. It is not credible that they could produce anything even remotely like the videos.

        Look at Microsoft's Hololens (or Kinect before that) as other overhyped projects in

        • Your view of AR is very focused on fun and gaming. The strength of AR is in Art, Engineering, modelling/CAD, design work, building/architecture industry etc. The Ability to see what you are creating in the real world where that item needs to go is hugely valuable, especially in the realms of engineering and design. In this realm AR is something you use in the office/work so dork factor is simply not relevant when talking about devices like HoloLens as they are not something you wear all the time (at least n
  • Any tech company based in Florida, land of the elder scam industry? Automatically suspect.
  • And while the reporter claimed to have sampled a version of Magic Leap's product, on a subsequent podcast, he said, "They didn’t show me what it looks like through this final device."

    "No, I didn't see it, but it must be crap" = Bad reporting

  • Derp (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Sunday December 11, 2016 @01:26PM (#53463981)

    Dude, I called this thing as being bullshit the first teaser they ever released how many years ago... I dunno why so many people fell into their bullshit, it was so obviously fake, and similar to several other fake VR/AR design concepts. Well produced CGI, now revealed to be from Weta Workshop, but still a piece of fiction. And to make things worse, the company was secretive and "couldn't reveal" any technical aspects, always a good sign for a leap of faith amirite?

    It's like believing all these people working on Hyperloop development will actually come up with anything near what Elon Musk hallucinated about.
    I wanna see all these companies involved in development after being funded in the order of I dunno how many millions coming out of their labs to say they finally managed to make something that works exactly like a maglev train, only with several drawbacks. It'll be beyond hillarious. Monorail indeed.

    Nevermind stupid Kickstarter scams that are obviously made by and for stupid people without any scientific knowledge like Solar freaking Roadways, smartphones projected on your wrist, laser razors, impossibly thin NFC or bluetooth rings or some crap... it's stuff like this Magic Leap crap that I get worried about. Huge money and time sinks that leads nowhere. Hyperloop, Terrafugia flying car, and whatnot. Tech media becoming a huge echochamber loop of hype and press release bullshit without any publication stopping to think about things logically.

    And then there are times that even big companies get suckered into shit like that not knowing what to do afterwards. You have concepts like Phonebloks, now defunct Project Ara, and Tango which just released it's first commercial phablet, started 10 years ago with that video with the WiiMote experiment from Johnny Lee. Though there probably were lessons learned with both projects, I can only imagine how much time, money and resources were sunk into these projects that anyone with enough sense could see that while they were cool ideas, there was no path into a marketable end project anywhere. And I don't want to sound like a hipster or something but I knew these ideas were bound to fail back when first rumors came around... like lots of other people I guess.

    Maybe I'm an asshole pessimist and it really is this sort of stuff that moves tech forwards... but Project Ara always seemed like a cool but infeasible concept to me because it's completely impractical and incompatible with how smartphones are made and sold, I always kinda knew that stuff like Project Tango was destined to die because despite showing some cool stuff, it's not something anyone but perhaps the tiniest niche of people needs on their smartphone (same for Amazon Fire Phone), I never liked the whole 3D movie/TVs idea because of how inconvenient it was and how incompatible for a home TV environment it seemed, VR might end up dying if all the major companies that invested in it don't change their sales strategy - they are not devices for the masses nor they will ever be, and all companies entered the whole deal without thinking about marketability of it, I never got into the whole wearables and specially smartwatch smarband stuff as something to be marketed for everyone... yeah, I guess I'm an asshole after all. :P

    Admitedly I also favored the idea of HD-DVD over Blu-ray because it was cheaper to produce... and even though I still didn't buy into Blu-ray (or 4K and HDR for that matter) to this day, the standard only won because of sheer corporate backing. It's all about the practicality of those ideas. I still have my DVD movie collection that will eventually become digital only, because everything over fullHD are marginal gains that I don't see enough benefit to invest into. VHS to DVD was definitely great and necessary, but I don't see much over this (biased opinion because my vision isn't 20/20).

    Heh, I got lost into my rant and changed the subject... whatevs. Give me your hatred folks.

    • I'm beginning to think people are feeling more and more miserable and have a stronger need than ever to believe in escapist fantasies that invariably fail to deliver. No Man's Sky comes to mind. I also thought Magic Leap was trying to cash in on that need the moment I saw the first demo.

      It's like what Louis CK said, "everything is amazing and nobody's happy." I'll go as far to say that if Magic Leap actually did deliver exactly as promised in their fake demos, few would actually buy it. People need a mirage

    • The real problem is that any VR that's hobbled by 60fps video will *never* feel interactively-immersive. 60fps is enough to appear smooth for passive viewing (when augmented by appropriate motion blur), but feels sloppy & laggy if it tries to be immersive & track your real-world gestures. 120-240fps is the point where latency becomes acceptable, and your own eyes provide the moton blur.

    • but Project Ara always seemed like a cool but infeasible concept to me because it's completely impractical and incompatible with how smartphones are made and sold,

      Yet, Fairphone 2 smartphone are already on the market.

      Okay, they are not as modular as Project Ara.

      Project Ara wanted some kind of "universal bus for absolutely everything", and the end user able to plug whatever the fuck he wanted.(You want to plug 3 screens on your phone ? You're welcome !)

      Fariphone 2 is much more simplistic - the phone is made of a few module which are more or less documented and standised (meaning that they could make a later camera module with better specs, or a connector module with U

  • Old and busted: It's a cross between the virtual and the real.
    New hotness: It's a cross between Project Xanadu and the Segway.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Sunday December 11, 2016 @02:43PM (#53464377)
    Have you ever thought of owning a bridge? I'm the exclusive agent contracted to facilitate the sale of the Brooklyn Bridge. Contact me in complete confidence and you could own this valuable artery into New York! Who needs augmented reality when you can have actual reality!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That WetaWorks demo was obvious bullshit from day one. All of Magic Leap's demos have been obvious bullshit outside of the first solar system demo, and it's taken until now for people to catch on? REALLY? The writing was on the board. No hardware to show... WetaWorks... And if anyone watched their promo video, it only drove home that this was all bullshit as everyone interviewed spoke nothing but bullshit -- the main scammer even had the ray-gun prop from the one of the fake demos in his office.

    I wish
  • I hold no expectations from Magic leap, but my hope is at the least they are doing some good basic research on the problems involved with good AR. I hope they set it up so that if they fail miserably one of the companies that invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the company can take up where they left off and deliver on the hype in the next 5-10 years. This is the type of research that would not have otherwise been done, and I am glad it is being done by someone (in theory at least). For something
  • I did some digging on the interwebs looking for the real tech behind Magic Leap, surprisingly, I found that they actually do have the key people who invented core pieces of technology, when put together results in a high resolution high frame rare light field display, in other words, digital holography movies where your eye or any camera can actually focus on the near and far objects in a display.

    Start by googling the keywords "scanning fiber technology", follow the trail of clues from there and you will qu

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