Magic Leap Augmented Reality Technology and Application Reviewed
Magic Leap, by far one of the most talked about company in the latest VR/AR industry revolution! The first AR unicorn who had raised $1.39 Billion USD in 3 Rounds from 13 Investors. All had occurred without a single commercial product being announced or released to the public. This mysterious company has been keeping their secrets behind closed doors. So far we can only hypothesize their products through two conceptual videos released to the public to date.
Regardless, Magic Leap became an investor's magnet, with tech giants such as Google and Alibaba, joining force as investing partners to be part of the future of “cinematic reality” augmented reality devices, a fascinating Hollywood concept illustrated in movies like the Minority Report and Iron Man, where the heroes interacts with holographic, floating digital objects. The company is currently valued at 4.5 billion USD. Other AR companies such as the Microsoft HoloLens and Meta claims to incorporate similar technology concepts.
With the advent of smartphones, we witnessed a phenomenon of lifestyle changes in every aspect. People are helplessly addicted with swiping their smartphones wherever they are, whatever they are doing. The smartphone revolution is what Magic Leap aims to achieve, as these AR headsets “are designed to be worn persistently”, gathering far more data than the modern day smartphones can only dream to achieve.
Magic Leap Patent Revealed
The following images are excerpt from Patent #: US20150016777. Check out the future that, mad people from Magic Leap team had envisioned!
Here we take a look at their most recent patent application published earlier this year. Although the patent applications are still phrased hypothetically, it appears that the company is still eager to maintain high-level secrecy to their future plans and potential applications.
VR and AR headsets like the Oculus, HTC Vive, HoloLens and Meta are all fixed focus. The user’s eyes are physically focused on a spot on the screen that is few inches away. On the other hand, Magic Leap’s adaptive focus technology, uses a complex optics to guide your eye into focusing further away, allowing a more natural and realistic feel for the eyes, even though the lens is still inches away from the eye.
“The AR system may be used to gauge productivity of employees at a company. The company may collect data on an employee’s work habits and productivity and may be able to accordingly provide incentives or compensation to the employee based on the observed productivity.”
“Because the AR system is constantly capturing images and videos, the AR system may detect unproductive behavior (e.g., unrelated internet browsing, low productivity, etc.), and may appropriately render virtual content to help motivate the user.”
Magic Leap's Other Potential AR Applications
Given the AR system’s ability to constantly monitor someone behavior, the system can be used to assess and make decision about a person’s behavior much more effectively.
“At Magic Leap, We Constantly Monitor Your Behavior”
Does this sounds a little disturbing already? Being monitor by augmented reality / artificial intelligence?
The headset can even play a role to make your girlfriend happy or make her awfully pissed off. Imagine that you wish to buy her a set of digital flowers, but can only make it happen if you have been displaying “good” behavior?
If we dig even deeper into this concept, Magic Leap is essentially writing codes to determine whether your behavior is considered “good” or “bad” through the world that you see. These sets of codes will become the covenant that governs your mix-reality world based on the data collected. Think about the idea of artificial intelligence with machine learning capabilities, such as a self-driving car. The moment the headset detects the driver not paying attention or is falling asleep, a self-driving car can instantly take over to react and/or alert the driver of any possible danger. Truly a fascinating concept!
Magic Leap can even verify your identify based on your retinal signature
“Since the display device projects directly onto the user’s retina, only the intended recipient (identified by retinal signature) may be able to view the protected content.” This application would be particular useful in securing monetary transactions and to avoid fraudulent activities, because “the AR systems are well suited to identify, localize, authenticate, and even determine gaze of the user.” Instead of asking for your driver’s license in the future when you swipe a credit card, the merchant would ask to see your eye ball instead !
Magic Leap is also using the term “Micro-transaction”, which may be easily performed in this type of system, as your eye behavior can be easily tracked, monitored, and recorded. With this AR system, a person may be billed for a single digital article that he or she reads, rather than having to buy an entire digital magazine just for wanting to read that one particular article. A music fan can purchase a single song's one-time use and be charged just for that song once, rather than having to spend money on an entire album or monthly app fee.
This could be particularly useful to determine the amount of spending a person actually incurs, as this type of Micro-transaction concept is exceptionally hard to practice with the current technology platforms via desktops, laptops, or mobile devices.
Eye tracking and data collection let’s your eye tell the whole story
The Magic Leap eye tracking technology would allow the system to understand a user’s interest in a particular virtual or real object. In the near future, instead of having banners or random pop up advertisement based on your Internet “clicking” behaviors, the AR system would enable accurate advertisement delivered to you based on your eye glaze or other input behaviors. Virtual icon may pop up that would lead to the company homepage of a pair of shoe that you have been starring at, and maybe even a function that allows you to put this item inside a digital shopping cart.
Mind Control Experiences
If a person was having a seizure, or is falling asleep while they are driving, the system can detect such behavior and project light signals to prevent or treat these conditions.
“There may be other applications of using light signals that are projected into the retina. This light therapy may further be used in psychological applications, and subtly controlling brain signals to change the user’s thoughts or impulses.”
3D Model Generation
Generating 3D models is currently made possible through depth sensors and photogrammetry technologies. Imagine in the future, this AR system can easily scan, capture, create, and render 3D models based on the user’s first person view perspective. This would eliminate the need of using spinning tables for depth sensing devices, or the need of large scanning booth that require a hundred cameras.
Magic Leap has sold a powerful narrative to the future without showcasing a single public demo. AR road kills, such as the Google Glass, taught us an important lesson that early stage products needs to be tested and reviewed, before an entire ecosystem can be formed with enough develops onboard to developing the killers apps, leading to acquiring customers willing to pay for such device and contents.