We are VERY excited to have begun our partnership with Magic Leap, creators of some of the most advanced and exciting AR glasses on the planet. Whilst the majority of our work remains focused on mobile, on the basis that phones are by far the most widely available medium for experiencing AR, we now have Magic Leap devices in the office – we do still get work done, honest! – and are busy building our first experience.
If you haven’t heard of them, they are the guys who made a huge splash – literally – in 2016 with an astonishing film of high school children seeing a virtual humpback whale leaping out of a gymnasium floor. The excitement that followed far outpaced the reality of the technology – but we’re pleased to say that it’s fast catching up.
The basic principles of AR remain the same whether experienced via mobile device or wearable headset: digital content that can be experienced in three-dimensional, physical space. But what Magic Leap offers, in addition to freeing your hands from holding your phone or tablet, is a deeper understanding of the environment it is in. It uses incredibly advanced spatial technology to create a three dimensional map of its surroundings, including walls, floors, doorways, furniture, objects, even people (if they sit still enough!), and uses this model to interact with its digital experiences.
So holes can open up in the walls, characters can climb onto desks (and fall off again) and, most impressively, digital objects can disappear behind real world objects – what we call ‘occlusion’. This might sound trivial, but believability is a critical challenge for immersive, and of course the AR helicopter I am piloting should disappear when it flies behind a wall. If it doesn’t, the spell is broken; Magic Leap keeps the AR illusion intact in ways mobile devices cannot.
Having spent the past few years creating impressive, high profile consumer experiences in partnership with some of the world’s leading creators, they are beginning to shift focus to include enterprise clients, bringing more corporate and industrial experiences to the platform. They anticipate a mix of different types of application and experiences emerging over the coming years, and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved.