UPDATED! Social: The First Social Augmented Reality Experience for the Magic Leap One

We’ve talked a lot about social virtual reality apps on this blog, and looked at numerous examples of social VR. But this one is a first: a social augmented reality (AR) app has been announced for the brand-new Magic Leap One headset!

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Just announced via twitter by Savannah Miles, who is leading the social and avatar chat team at Magic Leap, Social is the name of a newly-announced Magic Leap One experience that is coming sometime later this year. According to the product page:

Build Connections

Share experiences, follow your friends and join other creators to explore this new frontier together. Build, personalize and accessorize your own custom avatars with a suite of creation tools. Soon, you’ll be able to hangout with people from around the world in the comfort of your home.

Make Magic Together

Spatial computing is meant to be shared. Soon, Cast will let people in the same room see what you see, when and where you see it. Plus, since with Avatar Chat you’ll basically be in the same room, they’ll be able to see the same content and applications, too.

Express Yourself Like Never Before

Coming this fall, Avatar Chat will take full advantage of Magic Leap One’s perception features such as 6DoF, headpose, eye tracking and hand tracking to create a feeling of real presence. So wink, wave or throw a high five because you’re going to meet some super expressive avatars.

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UPDATE Oct. 13th: The Road to VR website reports that the Social app (renamed to Avatar Chat) is scheduled for release next month:

Magic Leap is slowly broadening its app offerings, and as a part of the company’s next steps to move forward to a fully-fledged consumer product, the company today announced at L.E.A.P. Con, the company’s first developer conference, that Magic Leap One is getting a bit more social in the next few months.

Savannah Niles, Magic Leap’s Designer Lead of User Experience, took the stage today at L.E.A.P. Con to announce that the company will be rolling out “a suite of products” to enable multiuser experiences on Magic Leap One—something that’s been missing up until now.

The opening gambit: Avatar Chat, an AR chat app that allows multiple users to connect remotely, with the ability to be represented by customizable avatars.

Image courtesy Magic Leap

In the quick clip of Avatar Chat, we saw Magic Leap One detecting gestures, eye blinks, and the ability to manually select emotions, represented by emojis.

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Magic Leap One: Why Reviewers Are Disappointed with the New Augmented Reality Headset

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Magic Leap has generated a ton of media buzz and hype over the years. We’re finally getting our first independent hands-on looks at the product.

Magic Leap invited The Verge to Florida for a one-hour, hands-on demo of the Magic Leap One, an augmented reality (AR) headset that projects 3D images into reality. And the reviewer was disappointed in what she saw:

And the Magic Leap One, which is now available for sale in the United States only, is extremely pricey for new technology: starting at US$2,295, it’s easily more expensive than an entire computer set-up for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets. And, as the reviewer states in the video, there’s little content available for it, and what content there is demonstrates the drawbacks in the platform, such as the restricted field of view.

Another mixed review by CNET points out another serious drawback to the Magic Leap One, at least for me:

There’s one huge drawback to the entire experience of putting a Magic Leap One on my face: It doesn’t work with glasses. My handlers asked for my prescription before I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and pop-in prescription lenses were supposed to be provided for my demo. But it turns out my prescription broke the mold. I’m -8.75 in one eye, -8.25 in the other — too strong.

The verdict? Interesting, but it’s probably best to check back in a year or two, unless you’re a fanatical early adopter. I’m quite content with my Oculus Rift headset, and I’m in no hurry to upgrade/switch.