December 9, 2016

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Magic Leap, the Florida-based augmented reality company, has dazzled people with video demos of what its technology is supposed to look like as viewed by users. Now a new report has cast doubts that the AR tech will truly look and work as promised from those videos.

In a story from The Information, it claims that Magic Leap’s fiber-optic technology has been put on hold for now, because the company found it would not work well on a wearable device. Instead, it is developing another, and currently unknown, AR technology that is supposed to make the “magic leap” from its helmet prototype to one that can be put inside a pair of glasses.

Furthermore, the report says that Magic Leap’s impressive looking 2015 video demo of its AR tech, shown above, is in fact a pure special effects clip. A more recent demo video from earlier this year claims to have been filmed directly from the company’s AR tech, with no special effects or compositing, but it definitely doesn’t look as impressive as the mockup clip from 2015.

Many tech companies and investors, including Google, have already put in a total of $1.4 billion in Magic Leap. However, the company has not indicated when its AR hardware product will be ready for the masses. In fact, there’s been no public images of what the hardware even looks like, although The Information did see a prototype helmet that connects to a PC with multiple cables. It also saw another prototype that looks like a pair of glasses, but that device was not given a live demo.

On top of all that, there’s the fact that Microsoft’s HoloLens is already out (although in a $3.000 developer edition). Magic Leap is currently losing its window of opportunity to become a leader in the AR space, and the company’s commitment to secrecy, combined with doubts about its technology, may doom it before it can get out of the gate.

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