We've seen some astounding demo videos from Magic Leap, a secretive AR company that seemed poised to compete with Microsoft's HoloLens. It ends up that they may have been too good to be true. The Information reports that despite $1.4 billion in funding, including backing from Google, the company is having trouble getting its mixed-reality headset off of the ground.
The story features an interview with Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz, who suggests that its most advanced tech, a display that uses fiber-optic cables to draw images out of light, has been put on the back-burner as a research project despite being what attracted the company's most talented engineers.
While the company aims to have a headset the size of sunglasses, the current unit is bulky and tethered to a computer, unlike the wireless HoloLens. According to The Information's hands-on with the device, the images are blurrier than on Microsoft's headset, which is currently available as a $3,000 development kit.
Magic Leap has a PEQ — product equivalent — of a smaller size, but declined to demonstrate it.
Perhaps most damning is the revelation that at least one video purporting to show Magic Leap's abilities off was completely generated by the special effects studio WETA. The video, which had an office worker fighting off zombies in a video game, had WETA's logo on it, but many assumed they made the digital assets.
The YouTube video's description said (and still says, as of this writing) that it was "a game we’re playing around the office right now." It ends up that could not have been the case.
A later video, entitled "A New Morning," claimed to be shot with Magic Leap's tech and without any special effects. But it sounds like we may be very far from seeing that dream become a reality.
See the full report at The Information.