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Image credit: Magic Leap

Is this a big step for commercial AR/VR? The Google-backed Magic Leap has released its first product, AR goggles that overlay interactive images onto the real world.

Magic Leap has been quietly chugging along in the background of the VR/AR conversation since 2011, creating quite a lot of interest from journalists and investors ($1.9 billion) without revealing what exactly it’s making.

Founder Rony Abovitz noted that people have been trying to create a convincing illusion of 3D spaces since the stereoscopes of the early 1900s. Along with that context, Rolling Stone has an in-depth look at the company, which opened up its labs to select writers in advance of the announcement of the new product on Monday.

Magic Leap differentiates itself from other VR/AR glasses in part through its form factor, which makes the goggles look like eye glasses instead of a flat surface, and the versatility of is projections. It includes a gesture recognition and control function as well. The report from Rolling Stone says that the “digital lightfield” technology allowed for a good sense of depth and detailed animation on the projected objects. The kit contains three pieces: the goggles, a power pack, and a controller the user holds in their hand. More detail on the hardware can be found here.  

In 2016 Magic Leap brought two employees to federal court for allegedly stealing some of its technology: the defense argued that Abovitz reacted with “rage” when the two employees tried to negotiate contracts that would allow them to do consulting work on the side.

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