Hands-on with Magic Leap

I had a chance to try Magic Leap last night. I’d read various reviews that the Magic Leap didn’t live up to the hype, so my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience. I haven’t tried other AR headsets so I can’t compare, but here are some thoughts.

When you first put the headset on, it asks you to scan the room by following an arrow and stopping at targets. It gets you to really look around the room, up, down, left, right, diagonal, and so on. As you scan the room, it creates a grid that shows you where it’s identified walls, floors, ceiling, furniture, etc. This itself was a pretty fun experience.

I tried the “Create” app, which is supposedly the most compelling one available. It’s more of a demo that allows you to draw and drop objects into your environment, as opposed to a full fledged game – but it was lots of fun. I first drew a red tornado spiraling around me, walked over to another part of the room and drew a blue 3d fish. I then dropped a ball on a couch and saw it bounce around a bit before nestling into the corner. It really felt like the items were interactive with the environment I was in.

It was fun to hand the goggle to others and have them see what you’d drawn.

The field of view is something that had been mentioned by others, and yes, it is small. That being said, I felt like the “screen” covered most of the available field of view, which I think is better than the “screen” being smaller than the lens – if that makes sense. Rather than objects disappearing off the “screen”, they disappear off the lens, which is a more natural experience.

The lens felt dark. While you could definitely see your environment, it kind of felt like I was wearing shaded snowboard goggles.

The scanning was  pretty accurate. It was up to about one inch off, which wasn’t noticeable until I tried to “trace” the couch. Didn’t notice this when I was dropping objects on it.

I could have played with this one app for hours, probably getting lost drawing some crazy environment.

IMPO, the technology is there. Now we need some creative geniuses to come up with “killer” use cases and games that everyone would want to play while looking silly wearing glasses like this.

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