News: Is Magic Leap's Virtual Reality Demo Video Too Good to Be True?

Is Magic Leap's Virtual Reality Demo Video Too Good to Be True?

Is Magic Leap's Virtual Reality Demo Video Too Good to Be True?

Magic Leap, the virtual-reality software group backed by Google, just released a teaser video on their YouTube channel. In a word, it's amazing.

But then you think about it, and other words come to mind, like ridiculous and, well, bullshit. I mean, how can this VR tech so seamlessly integrate with something like your hand? Did you see how that gun was actually held? We're still at a stage where VR makes you look like this, so how did Magic Leap make this supposed "leap"?

The answer is simple: Either they didn't, or they're 5 years ahead of everyone else. Keep in mind what you watched in their video, then compare it to this one from Microsoft:

Now things are a little clearer. Magic Leap got their latest round of major funding in November 2014, to the sweet tune of $542 million, which was led by Google. As 2015 rolled around, Microsoft unvieled their own VR tech, the HoloLens, with their own impressive promo video and a live demo. Yes it was guided and used a giant computer to run the display, but it worked.

Want to prove that your concept is more than just some crafty After Effects work? Invite us to your offices for a hands-on like Microsoft did. They knew hands-on experience was key, and it paid off for them. And we weren't the only ones impressed:

  • "...it still felt like magic." - Gizmodo
  • "Microsoft scored big and deserve kudos for their approach. Now they need to execute." - Forbes
  • "After exploring Mars, I don't want to remove the headset, which has provided a glimpse of a combination of computing tools that make the unimaginable feel real." - Wired

No doubt Magic Leap was feeling the pressure, and that's what likely led to this really cool, but likely conceptual video they released. Now, is everything that they showed possible? Of course. I for one think the ceiling for most tech, and especially mixed reality, is through the roof. And with Magic Leap and the HoloLens, we're beginning to get a sense of just how far this tech can go. But are we there yet? Not by a long shot.

Still pretty cool, though.

2 Comments

Good point. Yeah, I think they saw Microsoft's demo and didn't want to everyone to think they've been left behind. But the floating apps in the demo look more like Glass than true VR. And the demoed VR, which somehow avoids rendering over hands no matter their angle... shows red/blue chromatic aberration around the text in the corners, renders robots behind a half-wall that's also a half floor higher (even though the floor cannot be seen)... Yeah. Not possible. It would require a full and perfect 3d model of the entire room and its objects to be pre-scanned. The lag free hand perfectly cutting into the app rendering is a dead give away for a faked video. Even after decades of work, Microsoft's Kinect still has some lag around precise hand control, and that's using a time of flight camera.

Shit, that concept video makes anything on my Gear VR look Super Nintendo-quality.

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