Magic Leap has no great time. The company's actual tech demonstrations have been redesigned, hardware has not been rated very well, and now Palmer Luckey, the former Oculus founder, has come up with his own thoughts on the platform, hardware, and capabilities. His conclusion is that the magical jump is more of a "tragic heap" to use his phrasing.
Luckey's report covers some issues that I have not discussed in detail in other ML reports, including the shortcomings of the company's decision to use magnetic technologies tracking instead of view or position reporting. The controller does not look good (it lacks a clickable trackpad and reacts badly to any kind of fast motion). The Lightpack computer, which includes an integrated Nvidia Tegra X2 (Parker) SoC, is praised for its overall performance – this seems to be the part of the ML that everyone likes the most, including the fact that it's the most heat-generating and heaviest part of the system (19659004) After only knowing Palmer through his public utterances, I must say the man has a talent for the not so subtly delivered insult. After noticing that it is a pity that the ML battery is not interchangeable, he dismisses the point with "nobody will use their ML1 long enough to interest anyone except collectors aiming to tell the story of AR and VR True, sales of Oculus Rift have not really set the world on fire – the PSVR is said to dominate the vast majority of the VR market, which requires a stand-alone computer or console – but compared to the Rift, the Leap seems to be offer a weak value.
Luckey unleashes Magic Leap for his headset (lightwear) design, highlighting the big gap between the company's rhetorical claims and the practicality of its shipping product out. While the Magic Leap uses a set of dual-wave guides to give it two focal planes, not the only plane implemented by Oculus and HTC, its design falls far short of what the company claimed to be Offer. Here's Palmer:
The supposed "photonic lightfield chips" are just waveguides paired with reflective sequential LCOS displays and LED lighting, the same technology everyone else has been using for years, including Microsoft in their latest generation HoloLens. The ML1 is not a "light-field projector" or display with a generally accepted definition, and as a bi-focal display, solves only vergence accommodation conflicts in fictitious demos that place all UI and environmental elements on one of two focal planes. In all other depths a deviation occurs. Similarly, a broken clock will indicate the correct time twice a day. He then goes into more detail, such as stacking waveguides to create more focal planes due to frame rate, image quality, and weight issues. Headset tracking is also mediocre, the FOV is still fairly limited, and the operating system is, to use its words, "Android with custom stuff at the top," rather than the unique, ML-specific operating system that claims Magic Leap built to have.
All of these problems and mistakes would be understandable in a first-generation product of a small Kickstarter team or similar research by a large company. What baffles Magic Leap is that it's the yearlong work of a dedicated team that received over $ 2.3 billion in investor money. The only magic in Magic Leap seems to be how they did it.
Now reading: Magic Leap Teardown finds precious little Pixie dust, Magic Leaps first demo is far from impressive, and Magic Leap is off, hopefully with parachutes