Magic Leap of Faith into Augmented Sports Reality
Yesterday, Florida-based light field-display firm, Magic Leap, went public with a partnership with the NBA to view games through their augmented reality (AR) goggles. Magic Leap One allows dozens of virtual screens to be viewed simultaneously while personalizing location and size of each screen. Added visual features including stats, instant replays and game dialogue are available without interrupting the action. The company has been perfecting their goggles since 2010 and plan to release the finished product sometime this year. Magic Leap’s managing director, Jeff Ruediger, wrote in the company blog:
The NBA, Turner and Magic Leap have begun collaborating on bringing next-generation technologies to sports viewing, and we are just getting started.
New Realities Embraced & Old Ones Replaced
The company has raised $1.9 billion to date and this recent partnership had retired NBA player, Shaquille O’Neal aka Shaq, endorse the product during Recode’s Code Media conference yesterday. Shaq waved his hands to describe where each screen was in front of him saying he, “watched a full court game right here. Lebron was right here. Then I went over here and watched Orlando play the LA Lakers.”
Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap President and CEO, revealed a price range during the conference telling the audience it will be equivalent to a “higher-end mobile phone to higher-end tablet.” This could easily surpass $1,000 when you start looking at prices of the latest iPhones and other high-end technologies.
However Abovitz believes that over time, Magic Leap will replace many common devices by simplifying “your phones, your televisions, your laptops, your tablets, which add up to thousands of dollars.” As of now, the games available for viewing will be the most exciting match ups from recent seasons but they plan on accessing live games in the future.
Competitors with a Similar Vision
The Microsoft Hololens
These goggles scan the scene to develop a “spatial map” using sensors and cameras to accurately interact with the environment. The Hololens project holograms that users can communicate with by gazing over chosen app(s) and open via gesture or voice. The holographic items in view properly mesh with the world so if you were to throw a digital ball in your home, it would bounce off your wall and fall onto the floor accordingly. The company offers two options on their website for individuals or businesses at $3,000 or $5,000.
The Meta 2
Silicon Valley-based company, Meta, has created a head-mounted device that connects to your computer’s video port and designed for use while immobile. The Meta 2 was developed to effectively replace your 2D computer screen and is limited compared to Magic Leap and the Hololens. It’s recognizably larger design and field of view (FOV) are a result of its expansive internal optics system. It’s grab-and-hold gesture makes moving the apps around you simple to control and customize. Their Meta 2 Developer Kit is currently priced at $1,495.
The World is Your Canvas of Digital Creation
As of now, the Meta 2 and the Hololens are the only products that can easily fit with a customer’s corrective lenses. However, Magic Leap has jumped into new territory with their recent collaboration with the NBA. However, one thing is for sure: Magic Leap and companies like it are changing the way we view and interact with the world around us. At time of publishing, Magic Leap’s executives declined to comment due to their busy traveling schedule but if we receive any more information, we’ll update accordingly.
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