On Thursday, Magic Leap began inviting users to join its Lumin OS Beta Program, which includes a rather significant new feature that could fundamentally change how developers design apps for the Magic Leap One.
"Map merge, the ability for 2+ people to have a shared MR experience on ML1, is coming out in an experimental release in Update 4," reads the beta update note posted by the Magic Leap team on its website.
"Under the hood, devices will share a common anchor point and common PCF to enable content sharing. This feature won't initially be available to everyone in Update 4, but I'd like to offer you the chance to participate in an Early Access Beta with us."
Currently, most Magic Leap One experiences involve either a single user interacting with an augmented reality environment, or several users in remote locations (as is the case with Avatar Chat) interacting with one another, but not experiencing the same virtual components in real time.
What this new experimental feature does is open up a much broader range of shared augmented reality experiences that could truly pave the way for wider adoption of the system.
The idea of "map merge" was broached in part in a patent Magic Leap filed back in 2015. That patent was finally granted just a few months ago, in October of 2018.
"The augmented reality system also comprises a processor to communicate with one or more individual augmented reality display systems to pass a portion of the passable world model data to the one or more individual augmented reality display systems, wherein the piece of the passable world model data is passed based at least in part on respective locations corresponding to the one or more individual augmented reality display systems," according to the description of the patent titled "Using a map of the world for augmented or virtual reality systems."
While some might think of the gaming applications possible using the feature, the dynamic will have even more important implications for enterprise Magic Leap One users who need to work and train collaboratively at the same location.
There's no word on when the feature will exit the beta phase and reach all users, but if you're interested in trying it out, time is running out, as the deadline to sign up is Feb. 8. You can find out more at the Magic Leap website.