With Oculus, Vive, and PSVR having all launched to a generally positive but entirely underwhelming response, it’s easy to forget that there was another pillar to the reality-bending wars: AR. Augmented reality was most prominently displayed by Microsoft’s Hololens gear, but it looks like Magic Leap will be bringing a mainstream, standalone AR headset to market well before anyone else.
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Magic Leap plan to release an SDK for their goggles in early 2018, with a full release for the hardware coming later in the year. The goggles will come in two sizes, and will offer the option of custom pads for your oddly shaped foreheads, noses, and temples. The goggles connect to a self-contained, puck-shaped computer called the Lightpack, small enough to clip to your clothing but apparently comparable in power to a Macbook Pro or Alienware PC.
The company offered a hands-on look at the tech to Rolling Stone, demonstrating some of the features of the headset. It can accept voice, gesture, head position, and eye tracking input all at the same. Digital objects placed in the world will also have permanence, so if you put a digital TV in your real living room, that TV will still be there when you return.
Magic Leap haven’t detailed a price, but given that this thing features a miniaturized PC capable of rendering 3D graphics at the fidelity necessary for believable AR, it’s safe to say it won’t be cheap. Assuming the headset sticks to a 2018 release date, we’ll find out soon enough.