back to article Magic Leap ships headsets at last, but you'll need a safe

Augmented reality dreamers Magic Leap has finally begun shipping its hardware – along with a long series of ludicrous security requirements. Developers interested in making content for the untested product have to agree to a long list of restrictions over what they are allowed to say and do with the company's kit – including …

  1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    I don’t think “keep it in a safe” is unusual for pre-release gaming hardware and similar.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      "including keeping it in a locked safe when not in operation."

      Just leave it turned on then.

  2. Chozo
    WTF?

    Coincidence?

    Magic Leap ships hardware the same day the 'Ready Player One' movie hits cinemas...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Safe size?

    Hey, if it's a large enough safe - say, akin to a bank vault - the reverse engineering can proceed inside without breaking the terms...

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Safe size?

      Or you find an intern whose sole function is to wear the device, so that your Experts can stud...errmm... evaluate the thing. It's in use, after all.... No Safe Needed. And interns are cheap.

  4. JulieM Bronze badge
    Meh

    Probably nothing special

    It's only those with nothing to hide, that feel the need to hide it. So the "secret" behind this headset is probably something so not special, it's obvious just from looking at it.

    Meanwhile, Magic Leap's paranoid measures are only going to lend credibility to any third party's claim to have independently invented the same technology, if and when they come to patent it.

  5. Bela Lubkin

    Thank you for this item of actual thoughtful introspection and analysis

    THIS is what I expect from The Register. I don't even care if it's totally wrong (and I'm not saying or even trying to imply that it is). It is interesting analysis, the polar opposite of the barely-chewed press releases which constitute an unfortunately large portion of recent output.

    Do it again. Keep doing it.

  6. frank ly Silver badge

    The eye of the beholder

    "... it is possible to bring whatever is being looked at into focus and blur everything else. .... since this is how our eyes actually work."

    To actively blur 'everything else' would require additional processing. In the eye, anything away from the central FOV has lower resolution and colour depth (to a surprising extent). So, what they'd probably do is devote less processing power and resolution to the image in the region outside the central FOV. Any pixelation or loss of colour fidelity would be even less noticeable when the image is moving.

    Can I take it out of the safe now?

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: The eye of the beholder

      One of the problems with foveated rendering, besides the need to accurately track eye movements, is that our eyes don't usually fixate on a point for long but can actually dart around the scene rather quickly. Quickly enough that keeping up with the movement and rendering the right area at high resolution fast enough is a non-trivial problem.

      You need to balance how much to render at high resolution with system latency and maximum eye movement speed. And you probably want to design experiences to minimize distractions that could cause you to look around too much. For example in an intense FPS game you'd likely be constantly scanning the entire scene for any signs of movement making foveated rendering more difficult to achieve. Likewise a good horror survival game could having you jumping at the slightest sound or movement.

      The article seems to imply that Magic Leap's issues are "just" software, but it very well might be that we're not yet at the point where sufficiently powerful hardware to solve the problem is available at a size, cost and power budget suitable for a consumer product

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The eye of the beholder

        The article seems to imply that Magic Leap's issues are "just" software

        Indeed. Many problems are "just" software. But that software just won't fit into the economic, energy, space or time envelope available to solve the problem.

        "Two millions later, the answer came back..."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >Last week at GDC, Tobii demonstrated a remarkable system that combined virtual reality with its eye-tracking hardware and produced a much more realistic experience

    Only a year or three after SMI cracked Foveated Rendering then! Still playing catch-up too - SMI was tracking at 250hz in 2016 with MUCH cheaper kit.

    In marked contrast to the Magic Leapers, Apple (who now own SMI and went on a mad and expensive hiring frenzy at the time) don't even hint about their VR product development. It's so secret even the Apple rumours sites don't bother making up crap about it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And everyone here said it was a con...

    ...so much hostility and doubt there was discussing Magic Leap... and it turns out to be real. Lol.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Not so fast

      It is no more real than it was before. There are already people who have reportedly tried the thing and gushed about how wonderful the experience was, but are not allowed to say anything specific.

      All we're getting now is notice that there will be more people who might be able to say they tried it, but won't be allowed to talk about it.

      Given the issues outlined in this article, we're nowhere nearer to seeing this tech on store shelves, so I don't see what has really changed.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "It's real"

        Yes, anyone can slap a LCD onto your face. It was done by Nintendo many decades ago*.

        Is it done to the fidelity they advertised? That is the big question!

        *Yes, I know it had not head tracking. But we don't actually know what this device does or does not have yet either!

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: And everyone here said it was a con...

      It's real is it, can I buy one for Easter?

      No, so not actually real yet but it may have possibilities.

      " The "magic leap" will be when your headset is capable of locating everything around you from your position – effectively seeing the same way we do with our eyes."

      Regarding the above, this from Quora.com ;

      ." If vision uses a conservative 30% of the brain's processing power then we have to simulate 33 billion neurons. 10.4 x 33 = 46.2. 46.2 x 82,994 =3,834,322 processors to process only 1 sec of vision."

      If Magic Leap can simulate that, then they are game changers and worth the billions and the hype.

      If not, must try harder.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. redpawn Silver badge

    I have a safe!

    I put an object in front of the closet door and it keeps my cat from peeing there. Is this good enough?

  10. Oflife
    Alien

    Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

    I have just read a very detailed write up on Magic Leap in Rolling Stone - from several months ago.

    What they are doing does seem to be real, and ground breaking, and all about how we perceive what we 'see', and how ML have overcome the flaws in conventional VR and AR systems to create something totally different that is convincingly real. I doubt people such as Google (who know their stuff technically so cannot be fooled) would have thrown a lot of money there way if not.

    Anyway, I urge sceptical Reg readers to read the RS article, it's fascinating and convincing, and I'm sold on the fact they are for real, but what I am NOT convinced of, is that no matter how realistic, humans will ever take up any form of virtual, augmented or simulated reality when they discover that a walk in a meadow on a warm summer's day cannot be bettered.

    God gave us what we need.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

      What's with this god stuff? Meadows are the product of complexity arising from very simple rules, as is all life. We've never needed some imaginary, supernatural old beardy supreme being to create anything.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

        "What's with this god stuff? Meadows are the product of complexity arising from very simple rules, as is all life. We've never needed some imaginary, supernatural old beardy supreme being to create anything."

        Sigh.

        AC, you're bitching about the OP taking a creationist perspective, whilst at the same time being just as ardent in your atheistic perspective. In other words, you're being a hypocrite.

        You <-------------------- Neutral --------------------> OP

        1. Steve Graham

          Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

          "just as ardent in your atheistic perspective"

          The old canard that belief and disbelief are equivalent.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

            Oh? Believing in nothing, or denying a belief (put another way, believing a negative) is still a belief.

            1. Aedile

              Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

              Theism is the belief in a god/gods. (burden of proof)

              Atheism is the lack of belief either for or against a god/gods. (default position - no burden of proof)

              Anti-Theist is the belief there is no god/gods. (burden of proof)

              Think of it this way. I either have an even or odd number of blades of grass in my yard. Logically one of the two options must be true. However, you can either believe I have an even number or an odd number (Theist and Anti-Theist) or you can say I don't know because there's insufficient evidence either way (atheist).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

          @ Lord Elpuss

          You'll never bother to read about non-linear systems because people of faith delegate their brains to a fictional "higher power". You can prove Complexity Theory. You can't prove god.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

            There is a way. Just demonstrate (say by contradiction) that any non-divine method to something results in a paradox.

      2. .stu

        Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

        Where did the "very simple rules" come from?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

      "God gave us what we need."

      But who gave God what he/she/it needed to do it?

    3. Credas Silver badge

      Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

      I have just read a very detailed write up on Magic Leap in Rolling Stone - from several months ago.

      I think you'll find that El Reg covered that highly incisive and independent review at the time, with a tadge more scepticism than you seem to have about it.

    4. Conspectus83

      Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

      Proof

      If you believe in God then you will believe in anything.

      To prove me wrong all you need to do is give one piece of evidence that any God actually exists

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

        To prove me wrong all you need to do is give one piece of evidence that any God actually exists

        Out of curiosity, what happens if I were to worship Richard Dawkins as a god? I can prove he exists, and then I've proven that a god exists, although he probably wouldn't approve.

        1. fandom Silver badge

          Re: Actually, it seems they ARE onto something...

          All these people,thinking of themselves as smart enough to discuss metaphysics and yet they don't seem to notice they are posting on April the first.

          Impressive.

  11. Def Silver badge

    The "magic leap" will be when your headset is capable of locating everything around you from your position – effectively seeing the same way we do with our eyes.

    Errr... you realise Hololens does this already, right? The HL demos I tried 18 months ago had guys I spawned with a (mid air) tap of my finger interacting with furniture in the room- falling on to chairs when spawned above them, running to the edge, and falling on to the floor. I'm pretty certain they were running behind things too.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      "Errr... you realise Hololens does this already, right?"

      Also version 3 Hololens hardware is coming and has twice the field of view of current hardware.

      Anyone know how much are the Magic Leap developer kits?

  12. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Dilbert's "Magic Happens Here"

    The Dilbert cartoon strip once showed a project plan where a key step was marked "Magic Happens Here".

    Hey kids, it was meant as a joke. It's not MBA training material.

    This idiotic approach, of designing and shipping hardware while the essential software hasn't even been *invented*, is daft. It's fine to leave some minor polishing up in the SW, but when the basic algorithms haven't even been invented, that's just madness.

    Inventing the basic algorithms is something that needs to be done first. Otherwise the project risk is way too high.

    The inventing is the fun 20% at the very start. You've still got the other 80% of the total software effort to go, after the basic concept is completed and working in the lab.

    Applies here, and to other fields such as Autonomous Vehicles.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Dilbert's "Magic Happens Here"

      IOW the Underpants Gnomes way to make money.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dilbert's "Magic Happens Here"

      "The Dilbert cartoon strip once showed a project plan where a key step was marked "Magic Happens Here"."

      That concept goes back to at least the 1970s - I had a several generation photocopy on my office wall. Here's a more pristine image.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Dilbert's "Magic Happens Here"

        That concept goes back to at least the 1970s - I had a several generation photocopy on my office wall. Here's a more pristine image.

        That image looks like the UX or process charts for an SAP CRM system.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Magic Leap

    "the image jumped"

    Maybe the clue's in the name.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Developers?

    As a programmer I would would not be interested in this after all the vapourware hype. If it comes along as a real device, getting going on dev for it is not going to take that long so why should I risk it? I can already code for several VR devices like Oculus etc, why would I or any company I'm working for, take that risk?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Developers?

      Maybe if it comes with a customized Google Glass operating system and can be worn for hours in a business environment. Imagine how much more productive you might be while working on huge high-res virtual desktops which can be presented in front of you without needing to buy a monitor or even a chair or desk. Might need to work hard to come up with better input devices than keyboard and mouse though. Power glove?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Developers?

        Might need to work hard to come up with better input devices than keyboard and mouse though. Power glove?

        blink/gaze tracking and two chording keyboards.

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Developers?

      If it comes along as a real device, getting going on dev for it is not going to take that long so why should I risk it?

      I think that's the point. If the article supposition is correct, then ML don't have credible working software. What they're hoping is that the devs interested in this will take the half finished bodge and find and fix all the errors, thus doing the hard work that is beyond ML. By dint of a carefully crafted licence agreement, they could have rights to the implementation aspects of anything the developers create (but not the end product), thus meaning that if one genius can make the blasted thing work to enable their own product, ML can fix the part-baked code they've now got, and flog that on to anybody who wants it.

      An alternative conclusion is that ML have established that absent a field of sensors and huge Deepmind AI-style real time processing, their product will always be flakey. In that case, the logical thing is to keep the mystery going until some deep pocketed fool decides to buy the company for billions.

  15. DCFusor Silver badge

    Ok, flame me

    I won't even take sides on the existence or especially identity of some $DEITY.

    (being Zen and all, personally)

    It's not a matter of belief vs disbelief at all - that's purely disingenuous.

    1: Belief in some deity.

    2: Belief there is no such thing as a deity.

    Both are a belief in something that cannot be proved.

    Neither is a disbelief. Atheists are 'sure' they are right. Just ask one, or read their comments.

    Unsure == agnostic, not atheism.

    You can't even prove that the most obvious deity people usually mean exists or doesn't.

    Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

    Neither is neutral. Both are a faith.

    Religion is a faith in something that cannot be proved. It doesn't matter what the something is.

    Elpuss is correct. Sorry if pointing out your hypocrisy hurts your feelings. They're yours, after all, not mine and you should get them under control rather than evangelizing your belief system to us all.

    Either one.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Ok, flame me

      DCFusor, by your own logic, your view that atheism is a belief must also be a belief which you should stop evangelizing to us all.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Ok, flame me

        Taken to it's end, everything is a belief based on perspective. Why? Because there's no absolute in our universe. Everything is relative to everything else.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge

          Re: Ok, flame me

          Taken to it's end, everything is a belief based on perspective. Why? Because there's no absolute in our universe. Everything is relative to everything else.

          All sorts of complexities come into play here.

          One is that we have largely lost subtle distinctions in English. Like the difference between belief, lack of belief, and disbelief. We confuse "I don't believe" with "I disbelieve." Let me give a more concrete example with a different verb: I like pork, it's yummy. I don't like chicken, but I don't dislike it either (I'll eat it if there's no better choice). I dislike turkey (can't stand the stuff). English now equates "I don't like" with "I dislike" so to express what "I don't like" used to mean I have to say "I don't like, but I don't dislike either."

          Nobody has yet proven, to the satisfaction of a secular court of law, that a God exists. God could do it, should he wish to, but apparently has no such desire. It is irrational (batshit insane, in my opinion) to believe in something without evidence, or in the face of contradictory evidence. Belief in God without proof is unjustifiable insanity.

          Nobody can prove that a God (of the deistic kind, at least) does not exist. Lacking a belief in God is, however, entirely sane: I also lack a belief in unicorns, leprechauns, dyads, fairies and Russell's orbiting teapot, amongst many other imaginary things. It would be irrational to disbelieve those things, since it cannot be proven they do not exist, but I'm about as close to disbelief as it is possible to get without being irrational about it: if incontrovertible evidence ever appears proving them to exist then I'll accept it but I'm pretty damned sure it never will.

          As somebody once put it: atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Ok, flame me

            "As somebody once put it: atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby."

            Put more accurately, atheism is a believe like intentionally wasting spare time (idling, IOW) is a hobby. Not collecting stamps is more like not believing in Allah: a specific denial which doesn't have scope elsewhere.

  16. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    maybe..

    it IS hazardous waste, the hard core processing requiring some sort of Snow Crash type RTG generator to power it, a la "Reason".

    don't use without the provided lead apron, and make sure to thoroughly use the NBC decontamination facilities at your local Army base before touching food, or any living creatures.

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