back to article Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!

Not content with promising the product he has been hyping for six years, this week the CEO of Magic Leap revealed that his yet-to-ship virtual-reality headset technology will be even better than the previous gibberish he spouted. Rony Abovitz appeared on stage at a media conference alongside none other than NBA Commissioner …

  1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    FAIL

    It's, like, snake oil.

    Go away, silly person.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: It's, like, snake oil.

      But Microsoft have a shipping product in Hololens that you can buy right now in 39 countries. (it's currently £2,700 a pop). V3.0 Hololens hardware is apparently due circa early 2019 with a custom AI processor and double the current field of view so I really cant see a space for Magic Leap unless they produce something better, cheaper and sooner. None of which currently seems likely.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: It's, like, snake oil.

        But Microsoft have a shipping product in Hololens that you can buy right now in 39 countries. (it's currently £2,700 a pop).

        And the universe has a shipping product in reality that you can have right now everywhere in the world at no additional cost. Reality already delivers more interesting and entertaining information than I can consume.

        I don't see Magic Leak undercutting that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's, like, snake oil.

      Magic Leap invests in Israel. Anyone who supports human rights causes would avoid them just for that reason. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's, like, snake oil.

          You spelt Palestine wrong...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's, like, snake oil.

        Magic Leap invests in Israel. Anyone who supports human rights causes would avoid them just for that reason. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

        Have a tissue. You've got a dribble of racism hanging off the end of your chin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's, like, snake oil.

          "You've got a dribble of racism hanging off the end of your chin."

          He is somehow racist against the Europeans currently occupying Palestine you mean? Not quite sure how you can draw that conclusion seeing as the terrible human rights record of the Zionist regime there is rather well documented fact. The only racism that springs to mind is the "right of return" laws that only apply to Jews.

          "Boycott the only democracy in the region"

          Well its not really a democracy - most of the indigenous Palestinian population dont get a vote.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: It's, like, snake oil.

        Magic Leap invests in Israel. Anyone who supports human rights causes would avoid them just for that reason

        Much like they should avoid investing in other countries with bad records in human rights? Places like Thailand, Russia, the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Myanmar, South Africa etc etc etc

        You are, of course, free to adopt any cause you feel like but, unless you show consistency in your selection, we are equally free to have contempt for your choices and suspect your motives for doing so.

    3. spold Bronze badge

      Re: It's, like, snake oil.

      Virtual Reality - climbing out of the trough, still looking for genuinely useful applications (no not gaming) as it has been for the last 25 years.

      Augmented Reality - waiting for a decent eye display (no not a diving mask), and no pokey-shit, plenty of great applications waiting here though.

      Quite correct this is not AR as we know it, this is AR as in Alternate Reality (likely the only place it exists and from which it is never likely to crawl), despite all the interesting funding discussions here.... oh oh wait! wait! I can see world peace though this AR device (according to the hype)!!! Oh... they mean't world peas.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old"

    With logic like that, I would definitely not give that man my money until cold, hard product is available.

    Promises are nice, but when you start making too many, you undermine your credibility. And he has hit rock and is still digging.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: "evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old"

      I suspect what he is trying to say is that human vision took millions of years to evolve but light sensing proto pits are um, maybe half a billion years old, from the early Pre Cambrian. There isn't much evidence for eyes in the Ediacaran era except for some things which just might be worm burrows, but late in the piece so. But still not a billion, let alone multiples thereof.

      I doubt we can even trace genes for things like opsins or Pax3 back to 'billions'.

      So even trying to be generous he is biologically wrong about vision.

      For a very, very, very long time it was just bacteria. The funghi are eukaryotes so are Johnny's come lately.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: "evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old"

        My reading, looking at the next bit about "The physics of how light and the universe works with your biology.", is that the universe is billions of years old and the human brain has evolved to work with the universe, so they apparently regard that as set. I am very disappointed they are not going to be re-engineering the species to adapt to the new physics they have created, but curious to see how their technology will work otherwise.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge

          Re: "evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old"

          I am very disappointed they are not going to be re-engineering the species to adapt to the new physics they have created, but curious to see how their technology will work otherwise.

          I am very disappointed they are not going to be re-engineering the species universe to adapt to the new physics they have created, but curious to see how their technology will work otherwise.

  3. NotSmartEnough

    Not-Quite-Ready Player One?

    I'm looking forward to playing Star Citizen on Magic Leap. Wonder if the box the Magic Leap One comes in will fit in the boot of my flying car.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      There's plenty of space if you make your unicorn take the bus.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Livestock on the bus? That could get MESI.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      You're in luck then - SC is selling some brand new pixels next week...

  4. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Someone needs to do a spot of investigative journalism on this and end the saga one way or another! If someone who knows what they're talking about breaks their NDA one day, they're in a very tricky position as if they've got nothing they won't be able to afford legal bills as they'll implode. If of course their product is amazing then it will do them the world of good for investment and publicity, not that they seem to be struggling without anything to show!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: nothing to show

      That hasn't stopped a few hundred/thousand other startups from 'Embiggening' their vapourware and getting bought out by much larger concerns who really should know better.

      This seems to follow a standard model

      - create startup with a gem of an idea

      - get some funding so that the creators can appear to be working on 'stuff'

      - get some more funding so that they can release a half baked prototype

      - Embiggen the future of the technology when they are close to running out of dosh and have nowt to show for it.

      - Hope to hell that their flashy demos get someone interested enough to buy them out before it all crashes and burns.

      - If that happens, ride off into the sunset with a few shed loads of mulah and rinse and repeat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This seems to follow a standard model

        You forgot the "think about a way to cram ads on it and insist the victims loves it".

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: re: nothing to show

        This seems to follow a standard model

        These days I think it's called the "Theranos Model".

  5. Tony Paulazzo

    "We're trying to understand what is going on there: what's the physics? What the neuro-technology? What's the neuro-anatomy happening? How do we gently slipstream into that and not disrupt things? We want to talk to your neuro-cortex in a biologically friendly way."

    Well, that gives me wood! Course, I wouldn't pay someone to utter them but if someone wanted to gently whisper them into my ear I wouldn't say no :)

    However, I do want to watch a 3D film on my coffee table (courtesy of Star Wars Chess game) - or like K's girlfriend in Bladerunner 2049, an external laser array of some description.

    1. Def Silver badge

      However, I do want to watch a 3D film on my coffee table (courtesy of Star Wars Chess game) - or like K's girlfriend in Bladerunner 2049, an external laser array of some description.

      How would that work then, exactly?

      How would you fit a scene showing, for example, someone standing on a roof top looking out over an entire city? Specifically, how would you fit the entire depth of view into a finite 3D space that works for everyone sat around trying to watch it?

      I certainly don't want my dog to stick her nose through Leia's face, to pick an example, at an inopportune moment because she was bored.

      Until they occupy an entire room and fully immerse you in the scene, holographic displays are going to be worse than 3DTVs. (And know I don't have to remind you how God awful they were.) And even when they do occupy an entire room, I'm not sure how I would feel about my sofa (and coffee table) floating through space (if it were a Chesterfield, it'd be a different story, but, sadly, it's not) with me hanging on for dear life.

    2. David Given

      What was that old 'hologram' beat-em-up arcade game that did pretty much that?

      It wasn't true 3D, of course; it used Pepper's Ghost, with the two players standing each side of a glass table looking down, to project the screen inside so that they saw their characters apparently standing on the surface of the table. The virtual screen always faced the player, so it looked weird as you walked around the table. (Both players saw the same screen.) And the screen was 2D, so your characters were flat.

      But it was supposed to be incredibly convincing, nevertheless.

      **Edit:** maybe Sega's Time Traveller? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fooFhfVUEI4 It's obviously similar technology, but I'm sure it's not the one I've seen.

  6. Buzzword

    Unspecified amount of money

    I too have invested an unspecified amount of money in Magic Leap.

    But since you ask, I’ll specify: zero.

  7. Baldrickk Silver badge
    Meh

    If they meet their promises...

    You can be sure I'll be lining up to get one.

    Far more likely I'll be sat here behind my desk feeling sorry for the suckers who believed in the product like those poor unfortunates who put money behind the Vega, because you can be sure that I'm not putting any money into this pre-release.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they meet their promises...

      Most probably they will burn through their cash faster than they can get investors board, and so be gone before the technology they need is affordable. What they need is mainstream lcd pixel geometry to get sufficiently below the wavelength of visible light to make streaming holography possubke. It's a variant of Moore's law and it will happen but not quite soon enough for them

  8. James 36

    optional

    this guy is the new Paul Moller

    https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/17-better-ways-to-waste-your-money-than-this-crowdfunde-1458308873

    I need a good idea and the ability to unashamedly talk bollards in front of crowds to separate investors from cash.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: optional

      I need a good idea and the ability to unashamedly talk bollards in front of crowds to separate investors from cash.

      Considering the popularity of Machine Learning these days, why not sell investors on an ML system to discriminate between real and scam investments? When you run off with their money you can always claim you were training it.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: optional

        "Considering the popularity of Machine Learning these days, why not sell investors on an ML system to discriminate between real and scam investments? When you run off with their money you can always claim you were training it."

        Add blockchain and you are on a winner.

  9. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Could this be the light on the fuse of the current bubble?

    I mean this is a "billion dollar company" without a realistic chance to ever turn to a profit... there are many such companies.

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Unhappy

      Re: Could this be the light on the fuse of the current bubble?

      I'd pray to whatever deity is listening for this to be true... but I don't have any hope. Not when Twitter has spent the best part of a decade without turning a single cent in profit and is still valued in the billions. Not when people keep "investing" in the cryptocurrency-of-the-day.

      No, this bubble will keep going strong for a few years yet

  10. Fuzz

    MIF 2015

    At the end of 2014 Manchester International Festival announced they had commissioned a VR film collaboration between Brian Cox (the physicist) and Kevin MacDonald to be exhibited at the 2015 festival. It all sounded quite interesting until I saw who the technology partner was. There's a great quote from the time from the festival Head,

    “I think it is the most ambitious thing we’ve ever taken on simply because a significant element of it doesn’t exist"

    Didn't exist then, doesn't exist now, won't exist ever and people still give them money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MIF 2015

      >At the end of 2014 Manchester International Festival announced they had commissioned a VR film collaboration between Brian Cox

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-30056232

      Even Cox was taken in by the re-rendered demos it seems

  11. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    "everyone goes to [Magic Leap's HQ in] Florida, signs an NDA, and says: it's amazing but I can't talk about it."

    This reminds me of the teachings of A Certain Religion of an SFnal Nature proselytised by A Certain Actor of Short Stature(*). Any connection perhaps?

    (*) Not to mention any names, just in case.

  12. Rainman

    Lord Lucan, Reginald Perrin ... Rony Abovitz?

  13. Milton Silver badge

    Are they *all* drinking the same Kool-Aid?

    Apologies if someone's already brought this up, don't have time to scan every comment ...

    ... but isn't Neal Stephenson one of Magic Leap's supporters? 'Chief Futurist' or some such?

    I ask because he is an exceedingly intelligent guy (not quite as brilliant as he thinks, perhaps, but still very smart) and judging by his writing he is (a) realistic about the BS spouted by marketurds and their less-evolved sub-phylum, politicians, and (b) devoid of patience for the sort of corporate shytespeak uttered by execubeciles, of which Rony Abovitz would appear to be one: for what other species utters drivelling crud like this—?

    "We're trying to understand what is going on there: what's the physics? What the neuro-technology? What's the neuro-anatomy happening? How do we gently slipstream into that and not disrupt things? We want to talk to your neuro-cortex in a biologically friendly way."

    It's difficult to balance what I know of Stephenson, from his largely superb and clever opus of writing, with the impression of smoke'n'mirrors and corporate bullcrap created by the article.

    In short: if El Reg is broadly correct that Magic Leap is vapourware-cum-propaganda bollocks, what is a guy like Stephenson still doing on the letterhead?

    And if ML does have a real and compelling story to tell, there is surely no better person than him to step up and say "Hang on, you're being unfair, here's the lowdown ...", given that the CEO apparently can't open his mouth without projectile vomiting buzzword-infested semi-grammatical tripe.

    Execubecile :: Portmanteau of "executive" and "imbecile" referring to a type of (alleged) human which reflexively emits streams of meaningless corporate buzzword jargon in the belief that this is equivalent to "working", "thinking" or "communicating". The jargon is confected nonsense intended to emulate the specialist language and terminology used by real professionals (like doctors, scientists, engineers et al), in the hope that it will bestow an aura of precise, intelligent professionalism and intellectualism upon what is in fact a banal commercial endeavour whereby largely mediocre people try to sell goods or services of dubious usefulness.

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Are they *all* drinking the same Kool-Aid?

      @ Milton:

      Thank you for that, I'll be adding Execubicile to the list with Execudont and corporofart.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Are they *all* drinking the same Kool-Aid?

      Stephenson's smart, and knowledgeable in a variety of areas (as you know if you've read his recent novels). But he's also a technophile and something of a techno-utopian. While his early books definitely showed an amount of technology skepticism,[1] In the Beginning was the Command Line has a decidedly millenarian bent: a fancier, more-involving user experience is better, and there's a telos that leads us in that direction.

      Then you look at something like The Diamond Age, which is basically a utopian novel of social change through control-by-communication; and then Anathem institutionalizes that into an actual priesthood of research and the ability to shape the world by pure thought.

      That's a person who's going to have a hard time being properly critical about fanciful proposals for AR devices. There's some serious wish fulfillment at work.

      [1] Particularly Zodiac, but it's also worth noting how Snow Crash poured cold water on the then-canonical Gibsonian vision of VR programming.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, so this is Keenan Feldspar.

  15. trollied

    I think they should go with...

    This reads like a Daily Mash article :-)

  16. onefang Silver badge

    "Just imagine watching a live basketball match happening right in your living room."

    It would have to be a one on one match between two under age midgets to fit in my living room.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      "

      It would have to be a one on one match between two under age midgets

      "

      There's plenty of people who would pay a lot of money for that ...

  17. onefang Silver badge

    I've figured out what the Magic Leap tech really is!

    Once they have finished pooling together all those billions of investment capital, they'll buy themselves enough congress critters to get LSD made legal. Magic Leap is merely a high tech delivery mechanism for acid trips.

  18. Toilet Duk

    My Sony PSVR rig is great fun and it's only like £250.

  19. steviebuk Silver badge

    Everytime I hear of Magic Leap...

    ... I just think of Bernard Madoff.

  20. jonathan keith

    FTFY

    "... the inevitable train crash that is Magic Leap grows that much more p̶a̶i̶n̶f̶u̶l̶ entertaining to watch."

  21. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Silicon Valley is getting too crowded anyways

    Another year will pass and then they'll announce that their R&D produced solid results but the price point doesn't yet match the market. <poof> Gone. The tech (evidence) will be sold off to a brand new LLC that guards it as if it contained secrets that will change the world.

    I don't have to know anything about Magic Leap to be extremely suspicious. AR and VR tech is awful. If a magical AR/VR device appeared now it would take at least two years before worthwhile content arrived for it. Consumers won't wait that long and neither can a cash burning startup. If Magic Leap had a real product they'd be giving crude prototypes to developers as fast as they could to accelerate the content development process.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Silicon Valley is getting too crowded anyways

      ...just watch them double their valuation when they announce later in "the spring" that the product is expected to slip to Q4 due to unforeseen delays in integrating blockchain technology...

  22. Mahhn

    google is evil

    If google hadn't bought out the Oculus Rift, we would have product. All google did is kill a cool product with money and BS, then more money and more BS.

    I'll be on a holodec in space before google has a product on in the market.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: google is evil

      Facebook is the one that bought Oculus, not Google.

      Google has several VR products and technologies, Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, etc.

      These products are out in the market place, I own one from Oculus, and one from Google.

      Try to avoid tripping over those voxels in your holodeck.

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