There are two things that would absolutely revolutionize how I work that I would pay big money for:
1) Any sort of glasses that would allow me to view virtual displays in high definition. I don't care if I have to turn my head to see more than one display, I don't care if they are VR instead of AR. Should be high enough resolution to be able to use busy Excel spreadsheets and see enough details on a page to do web development
2) Some sort of glove where I could move my fingers to type. It doesn't need to represent an actual keyboard. I could learn whatever new gestures are required for each character.
Those two innovations would mean freedom for me. You could effectively work anywhere in any position, laying in a hammock, on a crowded train, at night in bed when inspiration hits without waking your significant other. It would have to be AR to use while running or working out :)
If these can be made with enough quality to enable equal productivity to a laptop the creators will have an addressable market of about 3 billion people.
In gaming, on the other hand, the unfamiliarity of the tech is not a risk but an asset, making the experience more novel. The fidelity doesn't have to be sufficient to overtake an existing process, just to support a fun experience. That's a more scalable business with lower technological barriers to entry, so that's where businesses are focused.
Same reason we had Pong before PCs. You might also see major tech advances in products for specific targets, like military use, medical, or advanced manufacturing, that then trickle down to mainstream productivity applications. But until they get the tech good and cheap enough, expect progressively better games!
I doubt that. If you make a VR/AR/?R version of a Bloomberg terminal or Factset then finance firms will literally roll up wads of cash and throw them at you. It doesn't have to be massively better. It just can't be worse which is the real hurdle. Granted I'm not an expert on the subject but every VR/AR app I've seen that claims to be the "$APP Killer" simply sucks.
This is the same reason nobody has dethroned Excel in finance. There's plenty of things that solve specific sub problems but the generic, "I have tabs of data and I want to slice and dice it" always goes back to an analyst exporting data to an Excel file.
looooool ... You mean like the men having competitions to see who can hit the urinal from furthest away? or barefoot wrestling on the trading floor?
Those are both reputable stories I've had relayed to me about people I've worked with. More like a frat than an uptight environment ;)
* Impromptu breath holding contests complete with prop bets and name chanting
* Chairs shoved, phones slammed, mice thrown, (full) drinks thrown, (Other people's) paper piles toppled, soooo much profanity.
* One time a trader yelled FKING FK very loudly as our EVP of Trading was giving a tour of the office to a business journalist. To which the EVP turned to the journalist and very calmly said, "With us, you always know where you stand."
I worked on two different (energy) trading floors. One was a fairly large venture (30 or so trading desks + mid/back office + dev/ops/DC teams + management). The other was one of the huge banks. Both were in Stamford CT.
I spent well over 5 years there and never once did I see those sorts of shenanigans.
There was some stuff: the guy that liked to throw a football across the floor, occasionally smashing a monitor; the guys that bet $1000+ each over who could lose the highest % of body weight in 2 months (or was it one month?); and the occasional swearing, but nothing near the "like a sailor" level I hear about.
Pretty much everyone I worked with was highly professional. They were profit motivated (for sure), but even there I personally witnessed people making fair deals where they could have squeezed someone dry and unwinding deals at a loss to keep a good counterparty relationship.
I'm so glad I never worked with the handset smashing, drug abusing, loudly swearing, king of the world, type-A assholes that I hear about.
Been there done that. Was the big bank one, the one with the keys in it's logo ? If so, you were using the Desktop OS build I designed :)
> I'm so glad I never worked with the handset smashing, drug abusing, loudly swearing, king of the world, type-A assholes that I hear about.
I think these days, thats largely confined to the Hedge-Fund traders. And those guys are EXACTLY the sort of people would love AR/VR based trading UIs - anything to make more money is always welcome in their world.
No. We were the other BS across the street.
I have a VR system and I wear it knowing that it makes me look like a total doofus. You also have zero ability to discern what's going on around you, e.g. to easily socialize with someone walking by. The productivity advantage a VR application would have to be huge for it to be worth doing things by VR, and the fact is that the fidelity just isn't there yet. I would also argue that even with fidelity, the usecases seem specious. But I also thought that the "Minority Report" scenes (which didn't involve a siloed-VR-helmet experience), while cool-looking, seemed like an extremely inefficient way to solve crimes.
Put some time in at a long/short or quant fund. This would be par for the course. I've been there.
This can be quite important in certain circumstances.
Ha! You don't know traders...
Problem #1 is what you mentioned with VR/AR $APP Killers - they mostly suck. They create value via novelty, which wears off. Bloomberg delivers value by addressing a really consistent set of needs in a solution highly familiar to many users across a whole industry, to the point it's hard not to buy it if you're in finance. It's like the industry's craigslist - lousy in many ways but good enough to stay entrenched (though Bloomberg's entrenchment is driven more through familiarity and brand rather than network effect, which makes it somewhat easier to compete against).
Problem #2 (being matched by Bloomberg) comes from Bloomberg having such domination of its market, and such deep pockets, that unless you are doing things they can't do they will just learn from and then kill you should you attain sufficient success. Although it might be easier to buy you!
You're going to get wads of cash from people eager to consume their Bloomberg data in a better way.
Any change, no matter how much it improves the workflow or UI is met with bitter resistance, because the users do everything from muscle memory, and small changes break that and slow them down.
The most poignant example I have comes from gaming, but I think it illustrates the point. In Elite: Dangerous, some of your menus are to the left and right of your avatar. Normally, you'd have to press buttons to focus the camera on these menus; in VR all I have to do is look at where that menu is and it pops right up for me to use.
It actually made the interface _way_ more intuitive, easier to use, and significantly faster because it played on my expectation of the result. If something similar could be designed on top of Bloomberg data, I think you'd see finance people trampling each other to get it.
This would be particularly true if you played into their existing behaviors and motions; they wouldn't have to learn anything, it would "Just Work".
Same reason I won't buy the new Macbook pro - they fucked with the ESC key, they instantly stopped existing as a viable product for me.
At no point did I suggest messing with their keyboard - just give them better visualization possibilities.
Those guys could run circles around me in the DOS version with just a keyboard. Seeing them use it now reminds me of watching someone with a decade+ experience with vim or emacs.
Look at the effective resolution of your monitor and consider the percentage of the field of view that it occupies. You'd need to get something in the area of 6-8k resolution screens if not more to match the same effective resolution.
Handsfree search in docs.
Yes it can. The resolution of AR/VR glasses is less than my iPhone or my laptop monitor.
Now you’re telling me that plugging in a big bulky headset is somehow going to deliver a not worse experience than thee other devices that don’t require an unparalleled level of immersion (both a pro and a con) yet able to show less detail?
However for other, more non-immersive applications, like AR resolution became more important. Which leads go slower reaction times. Which can lead to sickness and lawsuits.
Is it the best way? Hell no - but excel files still fly around on almost all meeting invites...
I believe they control 95%+ of the banking market.
But this and other comments are vastly underestimating the resources that people would be willing to exchange to make their work better. For what I described, a "reasonable" price point could easily be around $10,000. Apple is selling their new iMac at a starting price of $5,000 and there is nothing particularly revolutionary about it, it's an upgrade of what is already available. When you are spending all day using it, and it is the tool you use to make your money, it is worth a lot.
Secondly with VR as a desktop replacement... This is simple math. A 4k (or higher) 30" monitor will always be easier and cheaper to build and worst case the same. Except it's at 3' from your face. Shrink that monitor massively and stick it inches from your face. More expensive. Now do the trig on how many and how small of pixels would be required to pay that same resolution from 3' to 1"... Massive downscale... But great we'll get there on display density.... Except, and this is the kicker... For a lot less you can just upgrade the 4k monitor.
Basically unless something fundamentally changes in display tech or we hit a Max resolution that people care about... Miniture displays will mathmatically lag large displays. Yes smartphones tipped the balance but it all got rolled into desktop displays and tvs.
So you lose on econimics and math.
A display tech with massive resolution but something that inherently keeps it from scaling would be a big kicker. Or as some people have said... Hitting 16k or so resolution on VR screens per eye and your dream is there.
Till then gaming is a massive tech driver... Not people using spreadsheets
I want the portability, and then the resolution just has to be good enough. If we could get a virtual 1080p display that would be amazing and good enough. But to your point, the VR display would probably have to be 4K just to be able to properly represent a 1080p virtual display.
how big is your virtual 1080p screen representing? and at what distance. give me those numbers and I can tell you what display tech it needs to be, but it's going to be on the order of 10-20x density. it's all about pixel radians.
Also, 1080 is quite small for reading, macs have retina displays which is nearing print when running anti-aliasing.
And don't think I'm attacking you, I want this too. It's just that I did the math.
So if I could focus like it was 6 feet away but it was big enough it took up most of the screen from that distance, and it had a 1080p resolution, that would be good enough. And then I'd buy the upgrades when they came around :) The rough math I was doing in my head was that anything that wasn't 1:1 would need probably 4 pixels for every one virtual pixel. So 4K would about do it.
I pick 1080p because most laptops today still have that resolution, and several laptops that I still use have less resolution than that and are still usable.
Looks great! 4k video streaming from Youtube works very good.
4 x 1080 Tiled windows - perfect for productivities.
I don't do gaming. The latency is less of an issue for me.
So eventually, we will get there :)
There is also talk about how we actually only mentally process a small focus point in high resolution, and a renderer that could track our focus point could use a lot less GPU compute for a scene if fast enough.
This is the entire concept behind 'retina' displays. The max DPI that humans are able to resolve at typical usage distances.
Honestly, even that is debatable. Gaming has been the most successful application of this technology, but that doesn’t make it good.
Like it or not, we’re still in the land of hype and tech demos.
I'll admit that I might not be the "average person" that this is target, but I completely disagree.
I've often said that developers should have powerful machines and tools, pretty much regardless of price. Salaries are often over $100k/yr, and at that price if something makes you a few percent more productive but costs a few thousand dollars, it will (in theory) pay for itself in less than a year.
And for something like this, it would easily make me more than a few percent more productive. Just being able to take the equivalent of 3 monitors with me when I'm on a plane, or am working somewhere other than my normal workstation alone would be worth it. Plus the fact that i'm no longer limited to screen realestate means that when i'm actually "in the zone" and really getting shit done, I'm not going to be struggling with frustration at needing 3 console windows open, plus 2 editors, 2 browser windows, and a chat window. Just being able to throw a console or 3 at a spot where I can glance without having to take my hands off the keyboard or alt+tab through several windows in some cases would be a giant QoL improvement!
For me, this would truly be revolutionary. A headset that lives up to the promise of "a 1080p screen, but everywhere" would change so much of how I work it would be completely revolutionary. And I'd easily be willing to throw a few thousand at a product like this without even thinking about it (with the caveat that it would need to look like it's going to be supported for a while, and won't just ship a device and never release software for it again).
It's more than that. With the current state of the art, it's impossible to make a "virtual monitor" that can match the display density of even a plain 1920x1080 display. You can make "giant spreadsheets", but only because you have to blow up everything to multiples of normal screen size for text to be readable in the VR environment.
If it took up less space than multiple large monitors, it would already be better by one criterion.
> have to be massively better than $1000 worth of monitors
Just read these two quotations, and you have the answer. Yes, high-resolution low-hassle googles would be massively better than 3-4 decent monitors for quite some people. At $500 for 2K resolution, that would be an instant hit.
I think that it's a convenient text input device that is missing from the picture. A lot of power users can't touch-type yet.
Another problem is the hassles: either cables or poor battery life. Bandwidth is important outside of gaming, too, else you'll hear the complaints about janky page scrolling instantly.
Text has to be fairly large in order to be readable. We will need an enormous resolution and incredibly low dot pitch to solve those issues and make productivity tools possible.
This is the tech space where I dream of working. I have been designing features for developer teams in AR but without the hardware being available, it's all theory.
I'm still excited to see where HMDs get to in the next 5-10 years, both AR and VR.
Oculus Research' 'Focal Surface Display'
> Miller wanted to show me one other neat trick. He walked to the far end of the large room and asked me to launch Gimble. The robot obediently appeared in the distance, floating next to Miller. Miller then walked into the same space as the robot and promptly disappeared. Well, mostly disappeared, I could still see his legs jutting out from the bottom of the robot.
> My first reaction was, “Of course that’s what happens.” But then I realized I was seeing a fictional thing created by Magic Leap technology completely obscure a real-world human being. My eyes were seeing two things existing in the same place and had decided that the creation, not the engineer, was the real thing and simply ignored Miller, at least that’s how Abovitz later explained it to me.
If they really have that working, it's a huge advantage over systems like HoloLens.
Here's an application for drivers and pilots: smart sun-shade to block out bright lights (headlights), sunlight, or glints off surfaces (water).
> My eyes were seeing two things existing in the same place and had decided that the creation, not the engineer, was the real thing and simply ignored Miller, at least that’s how Abovitz later explained it to me.
That sounds to me like some kind of light-field trickery where it puts an object in front of the background using the light field, but doesn't physically block the light. Instead, your brain processes it out because your visual model of the space has something in front of it.
I'm imagining this works sort of like the effect where you overlay left and right eye images that don't match, your brain sort of fades between the two of them because it can't decide what's there? Except instead of having that disagreement, both of your eyes say "This thing is in front" and that's how you see it"? It's hard to say from the kind of hand-wavey explanation.
If that's the case, I don't know that it would work for really bright glare. Either it might be a strong enough signal to overpower the light field, or the bright light scattering around your eyeball might still cause enough bloom to wash out your vision.
If the background is a blue wall in your living room, you place a white framing layer behind the text you're looking at. If the real wall is black, you do the same thing. Makes no difference what color the wall is then.
Wall -> Frame Layer -> Text
Text recognition should be among their easiest chores (which is to say it's still not easy, it's on the lower level of difficulty in what they're trying to do).
Magic Leap is claiming to have occlusion of background objects working, but hasn't really explained the mechanism. It sounds like it's some sort of "light field" trickery where they let the light through, but your brain knows there's a virtual object in front of it and mentally processes it out. Cool if it works, but I'll need to see this to believe it.
Companies can focus on the gaming industry first because it's tolerant of slightly degraded looking graphics and inability to render high fidelity text, and they can start selling headsets now to that demographic. A person writing code all day or looking at spreadsheets will not tolerate reading small text through a screendoor.
Finally we have a medium that can open up entirely new ways of doing things with computers, yet so many people just wish it could replicate the old ways.
Same thing happened when the first display computers were made to emulate paper-based terminals instead of exploring what's possible on a graphical display. We still haven't fully recovered from that.
Oh the pink plane.
Right. But to invent the new ways, I need access to A) a replication of the old ways, B) source/config/whatever so I can evolve the Next Big Thing. Without this use case in mind, we're effectively stuck on keyboards and monitors.
From their FAQ:
"Is Dynamicland augmented reality (AR)?
It depends what you mean by augmented reality. Dynamicland is primarily about working with actual physical objects that everyone can see and touch. Glasses and phone-based AR is usually about 'holograms' floating in space that only the person with the device can see. It is a central tenet that all people who come in to Dynamicland share the same reality. This enables social cues like pointing, eye contact, and shared attention which are essential for people to be fully present with each other."
And while their points ring true for the current iterations of AR-as-personal-assistant, I don't see why a networked AR where everyone shares the same annotations would work any differently. Isn't that what their projectors are doing, after all?
Now, once we have a holodeck, where the virtual objects are made tangible, your points will hold. But until then, tangibility is a key difference (and perhaps not the only key difference, but this should suffice for now).
At the same time, we have built our organizations, relationships, even our own brains to work in a certain commonly accepted way. Everyone can visualize what I mean when I describe a virtual display, which themselves have basically represented virtual pieces of paper as you mentioned. We would be instantly better off. But yes, it would be a tragedy if the better, more revolutionary way of working was discarded for an incrementally better version of what we are used to. I'd hope somehow we could do both.
This tragedy is common occurrence with incremental ideas.
Compared to the revolutionary, incremental ideas have an unfair advantage. They are way easier to talk about, way easier to imagine, way easier to implement, and way easier to sell. They capture the market, and before long, too many people's lives will depend on them that no one would dare even propose doing things differently.
This has happened time and time again. QWERTY is a nice example:
> The top row of alphabetic keys of the standard typewriter reads QWERTY. For me this symbolizes the way in which technology can all too often serve not as a force for progress but for keeping things stuck. The QWERTY arrangement has no rational explanation, only a historical one. It was introduced in response to a problem in the early days of the typewriter: The keys used to jam. The idea was to minimize the collision problem by separating those keys that followed one another frequently. Just a few years later, general improvements in the technology removed the jamming problem, but QWERTY stuck. Once adopted, it resulted in many millions of typewriters and a method (indeed a full-blown curriculum) for learning typing. The social cost of change (for example, putting the most used keys together on the keyboard) mounted with the vested interest created by the fact that so many fingers now knew how to follow the QWERTY keyboard. QWERTY has stayed on despite the existence of other, more "rational" systems. On the other hand, if you talk to people about the QWERTY arrangement they will justify it by "objective" criteria. They will tell you that it "optimizes this" or it "minimizes that." Although these justifications have no rational foundation, they illustrate a process, a social process, of myth construction that allows us to build a justification for primitivity into any system. And I think that we are well on the road to doing exactly the same thing with the computer. We are in the process of digging ourselves into an anachronism by preserving practices that have no rational basis beyond their historical roots in an earlier period of technological and theoretical development. – Seymour Papert, Mindstorms
That's why I believe we should be more evangelical in promoting revolutionary ideas (from the blue plane), and more quick to point out incremental ideas (the pink plane).
In fact, I'd say it's an example of the opposite: the alternatives didn't surpass QWERTY because they were mere incremental improvements. You need a big leap to beat the inertia of the existing systems.
Yes. It wasn't my intention to imply that an alternative keyboard layout would be a revolutionary idea. The example was meant to illustrate how a non-revolutionary idea (virtual 2D screens in VR), after establishing itself, can make it difficult/impossible for other ideas to take hold.
> You need a big leap to beat the inertia of the existing systems.
It's good to point, that once an idea becomes mainstream, even research into revolutionary alternatives will dry up compared to those focused on incrementally improving the mainstream, making it even more unlikely that the leap would happen.
I agree it's unimaginative, so I'm imagining programming in VR in picture-forth.
Is it ? If we talk abour VR, yes, but there are a number of companies actually delivering AR products whose focus is on productivity. Some examples (but there are more) are
Microsoft with Hololens 
Epson with Moverio devices 
Their oldest model are simple smart glasses, it seems to me that they are moving towards full AR.
As a plus side, they don't look something that I would wear only inside the office of SV startup.
I also felt the tracking was mildly worse than Vive; although that is more anecdotal.
My interest is mainly the healthcare sector, and while I have in mind a few applications, I think that for now they are not able to offer something a smartphone in the pocket of a doctor with a properly designed app, cannot do in the same amount of time.
If I had to make a wild bet on what will be the first successful consumer application of AR glasses I would say glasses for cyclists: the user can really benefit from not having to watch away from the road and we are already used to see them riding with funny glasses anyway :-).
(in fact it seems there are already a bunch of companies focusing on that).
Hololens is kinda neat but gesture recognition isn't there yet and the limited FOV really, really sucks. That's the biggest problem with any of these.
The Moverio is setting out to be pretty modest--think "Google Glass screen projected in field of view, but not shit"--but the execution there is solid. It also plays very nicely with glasses.
Because gamers are a community well know to spend several hundreds of dollars easily for any kind of upgrade to their existing hardware. At least the core PC gamers, and that's quite a large segment nowadays.
People's workflow is often fairly static, and this would need to fit the existing requirements. Games are very different from each other and transient. This may not work well for most of a gamer's library, but new games might come out that they will buy and utilize. If this doesn't work well (or even just as well as what you currently use) for a browser, terminal, spreadsheet and text editor, are you going to switch to some new software that you don't know that might work better (but still possibly not as well as what you used originally) just to make use of it? I wouldn't.
It also has to do with enterprise products suck.
Lets look at a similar product that lives on as "productivity", one that did NOT launch with gaming features: google glass.
For most of us, and most companies they aren't going to invest 100's or 1000's of dollars on something unproven. We might do that for "entertainment" purposes but not productivity ones until the tech is proven.
How do you prove out tech? How do you get those consumer grade productivity tools into the hands of end users quickly and efficiently -- lower cost or raise value. There are plenty of folks who gladly spend $1000 on gaming, look at the mobile space and the insane decisions consumers make there.
And anything that increases productivity will always have plenty of money thrown at it. Think about standing desks, for example. My employer is happy to drop $3,000 on a high end laptop so I can be that much more productive.
Gamers will shellout $1000's though for tech that is limited run, so you can then get items to scale for the majority of businesses/end users to purchase.
Also, Google Glass is being used in productivity, the current gen program is being used only in productivity applications. Google Glass was just too new to the market, and with the camera people were worried about being recorded, it needed a LED or a physical closure for the lens to make people comfortable.
Beyond these, the main reason is that gaming is a much better exploration and experimentation field than productivity because each app can have far less capital investment, lifecycles are short, and there's no need for a reliable, successful output.
Do we know the (eye) health effects, yet, of looking at AR/VR screens an inch from your eyes for 6+ hours a day?
Nearpoint stress basically can render your eyes permanently damaged. It's definitely to be avoided.
MagicLeap supposedly has variable distance focus working.
Abstract information spaces are hard;
being non-physical and having many more dimensions.
The added interface complexity usually doesn't justify the gain, from only throwing away 23 dimensions, instead of 24.
There might be useful ways to represent clusters of information related to a non-physical task effectively; there hasn't been a clearly successful one yet.
and no, if you are trying to jam a bunch of 2D screens in a 3D environment, you are not "representing physical objects or environments" as identified as the core strength above.
But what you describe isn't quite there technologically; they just don't have the resolution or refresh rate and input methods are still evolving. Another issue with AR is that it's only additive. The lenses make everything darker and they can only add light.
Some of the best use-cases I've seen for AR is assistive technology where it walks you through taking something apart labeling each part. Right now that requires an incredible amount of manual resources to generate (or would require a huge investment and significant breakthroughs to make dynamically generated or procedural). That tech is orthogonal to the display and input, but both are necessary for a product.
Same with the gloves, if it doesn't have good feedback then I'm going to nope out. Good for tech demos and sci-fi movies, but in real life you need the feedback and physical object.
(you know, like how in real life I need a keyboard and mouse instead of just an awesome mechancial keyboard and vim / emacs mastery).
We are always looking for more alpha testers. Should you have a VR setup feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to try it.
Because they think that gamers will pay. Unfortunately, I see that they got a wrong idea. It has a vibe of a semibotched Kickstarter project, except backers here are not private individuals, but gigacompanies.
A type of a gamer who spends 15k usd on a gaming rig to crush opponents in Quake 3 in ultracompetitive environment, will not care a bit about this toy.
The founder of the company comes from a socioeconomic strata whose people have that characteristic. A Boston "old money family (R)" born man may see that selling gaming stuff to quite a lot of relatively rich people dumping 15k on a gaming rig is a good business idea, proceeds to build a company built around that idea with all audicious bold claims being received with accolades from other people like him, but never actually bothers to figure out what things matter in a gaming gear.
If you have read his personal blog from naughties before he deleted it, you will get that his ways can be said to be well beyond "nebulous". He wrote stuff like "solving global problems" while maintaining that tone you usually see from people who flood the internet with something very insubstantial like "saving African children with Agile, innovation, and seven sigma framework..."
Ok, back to the botches kickstarter line. As happens often with such projects, original claims performance get scaled down, company barely manages to deliver a downrated product after missing the delivery deadlines multiple times, product works so so, and in the end it ends in your drawer for good. A year down the line the company simply shuts down the cloud service for the widget and you are left with an expensive paperweight. I expect magic leap to follow this route.
On the other hand, selling into business means developing business solutions and making business cases for purchase of the solution.
On the third hand, your use case is almost certainly smaller than the gamer market and has many of the same business case features as the business market...which means it pretty much is a business case in that "viewing virtual displays in high definition" is a business solution involving Excel and web development and hammocks and trains. Unlike the game market, the developers of the tools you want to use are not chomping at the bit to work with MagicLeap.
We learn much faster by copying someone, and having this kind of tool would free up resources while you on-board someone.
If you want to have something like a seemless experience, you need something closer to 90deg field of view and several thousand linear pixels (e.g. 5-10Mpix per eye) at near retina resolution. That is VERY hard even for the biggest GPUs (that don't fit on your belt) even at 60Hz. If you want to avoid dizzyness, then you want >90Hz and <10ms latency.
Probably for the same reasons that Tesla built expensive sports cars first, before focusing on delivering a (comparatively) more boring commuter sedan.
There're other interesting areas for productivity improvements too, like better interfaces for human computer interaction
I'd much prefer a laptop/desktop work environment to wearing goggles and using a virtual keyboard for hours at a time.
Literally half - if not more - of the site is showing non-game applications.
Meta is focused on productivity.
It's supposed to be shipping in 2018. They could easily have hired a team of top notch creators to showcase some of the capabilities of the device live -even if the device is still not 100% ready- instead of this silly Manhattan project secrecy. I hope they deliver as promised, but something smells fishy.
It's a pity, because unlike VR I think AR has huge potential both for consumer and industrial applications.
Nintendo announced the Switch about six months before it shipped. Before that they announced titles, showed game demos, and talked about titles in development. Magic Leap has shown us what could be a 3D printed mockup for all we know, and has announced (to my knowledge) exactly one thing for the console (mixed reality comics).
Magic Leap should be marketing the hell out of this. It's a multi-billion dollar product, and yet they have exactly zero actual footage of the actual hardware even working. Their sizzle reels have been nothing but concept art. Something is very wrong with this.
>instead they were constructed to give visitors who pass through the facility under non-disclosure agreement, a chance to see the magic in action.
It's a controlled environment with purpose-built demos for folks under NDA.
There's no videos, renderings from actual hardware, or substantive critiques on the fidelity of the device's output. The only negative criticism is that it has a rectangular viewport which doesn't fill your field of view. I can't believe that's the only negative thing that could be said about this. Not a single comment on FPS, glitches, or any other problems.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I could totally see this demo as being fudged. The computations could be happening off-device with video streamed over wifi. We've heard before that Magic Leap has struggled to miniaturize their hardware, with the last version looking like a proton pack...what better way to demo it than to fake the demo?
I want real evidence that the cute hockey puck has a real computer inside, not just anecdotes from an NDAed journalist in a lab environment.
Magic Leap pulled a similar stunt with The Information around the same time last year . Seems like they found a more pliant journalist in The Rolling Stone.
"In March of last year, it released a video online titled “Just Another Day in the Office at
Magic Leap.” Shot from the perspective of one of its employees working at his desk, all appears normal until robots start falling from the ceiling and converging on the worker, who picks up a toy gun and starts blasting his enemies into tangled lumps of virtual metal. The video, viewed 3.4 million times on YouTube, was meant to demonstrate a game people were playing with Magic Leap’s headset. It had been used for more than a year to recruit employees to South Florida. 'This is a game we’re playing around the office right now,' Magic Leap wrote in the description of the video.
But no such game existed at the time, according to two former employees with direct knowledge. The video was not actually filmed using any Magic Leap technology. It was made by New Zealand-based special effects company Weta Workshop, which has worked on movies like 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and 'The Hobbit,' the employees said. One of them called it an 'aspirational conceptual' video. The employees said some at the company felt the video misled the public.
In addition to the bulky demo connected to a computer, Mr. Abovitz showed The Information a prototype of the compact device it intends to build. It looked as if somebody fastened electronics to every inch of a pair of wire-framed glasses. It had a multi-layered, flat lens. He would not turn the
device on, but assured a reporter that it worked just as well as the larger, helmet-like device. Mr. Abovitz would not discuss details of the technology, repeatedly responding to probing questions with the phrase 'Squirrels and Sea Monkeys.'"
I think Magic Leap is another Theranos. A second, independently-developed HoloLens makes for a respectable incremental business. But that nugget of truth has been leveraged to a $6 billion hallucination. Maintaining that hallucination could have forced management to lie to investors, to the public and to their employees.
"In addition to the bulky demo connected to a computer, Mr. Abovitz showed The Information a prototype of the compact device it intends to build. It looked as if somebody fastened electronics to every inch of a pair of wire-framed glasses. It had a multi-layered, flat lens. He would not turn the device on, but assured a reporter that it worked just as well as the larger, helmet-like device."
Your post agrees that one year ago, Magic Leap was lying about the technology they had. JumpCrisscross only asserts that given all publicly available information, Magic Leap is probably still lying.
Rony Abovitz calls the chips supposedly powering his tech "Sea Monkeys."
edit: Also, even if that demo was the advertised Magic Leap hardware, it still only responded to camera movement, and Miller said the demo had capabilities that he refused to actually display.
"I noticed that when I moved or looked around, her eyes tracked mine. The cameras inside the Lightwear were feeding her data so she could maintain eye contact." Yes it is possible that the demo changes behavior based on eye movement alone but that's not what the author said.
Lightwear is the headset component. It is not functional without another, separate computer. The author says he only clearly saw the full, multi-piece ensemble of the advertised prototype Magic Leap hardware later, in a different room from the demos. My information comes from the literal words in and structure of the article. To make the point you are trying to make, one must add words and meaning that are not in the article. Continue insulting my literacy.
edit: You are right about one thing; my assertion that the demo in question was reliant on -camera motion- may not be correct. Eye-tracking on commodity hardware using a single camera has been a solved problem for years.
>> This is absolutely false
The Information documented Magic Leap lying about something unambiguous and untrue. That is absolutely true.
You're on a bit of a roll across this thread  without anything more than the Rolling Stone article. People are expressing healthy skepticism towards a company that has been publicly caught in a material lie, has raised a lot of VC with little to show for it, and made an announcement with lots of CGI and a vague "2018" release date. Given whom this announcement is targeting, I think it's fair for people to have a balanced view before they commit their time or energy to this company.
It would be trivial to fake the demo. You can buy the parts to stream HD video wirelessly for a few hundred bucks. If they're using a small server farm to render the output, isn't that cheating?
If they can show it to a journalist in a lab, why not make a marketing demo in a park? Like I said, I'll believe it when I see it.
It's called PR.
Interesting that this came out in Rolling Stone and not another tech site. I obviously couldn't say for sure, but I don't see why it isn't implausible to think that they found a publication that was happy to roll over a few details in exchange for an exclusive dig.
> “We went on this really crazy sprint from basically October 2014 to December 2017,”
This is the part that startles me the most. 3 years of a "crazy sprint" with no revenues is extremely hard for companies to pull off. It leads to all sorts of problems internally and hiring decisions are usually rushed and lack direction. It's surprisingly much easier to do when you have paying customers, because you make decisions based on the market and not just your gut (Slack being a good example of this).
Also, having more money and no biz model is a bigger issue than you think.
If we're talking videogames plenty of games have 3 year development periods.
Things have changed with Prime and supply chain innovations, but there isn't a much simpler model than what basically amounts to consignment.
This is very impressive if what it says is true. They've basically reinvented the concept of a digital computer display by projecting a sort of artificial light field into the eye. The amount of capital they've raised makes sense now, this sounds like a ridiculously big undertaking. What remains to be seen is whether all this work will be worth it as opposed to just better displays, but color me intrigued.
Besides, hype can be very dangerous. Look at what happened with No Man's Sky. They rode the hype train to the Moon and came crashing down hard because the product utterly failed to meet expectations. That's why it's important to temper hype with regularly administered doses of realism.
I feel like this is also an answer to the top comment in this thread - gamers are a target market for stuff like this because they are more likely to take risks based on hype without waiting for a technology to prove itself.
I hadn't read the article in rolling stone to be honest, but after reading it I get the impression that it would be even easier to prepare a more public demonstration (in a controlled environment) instead of this NDA shackled article. It wouldn't be that hard for example to show a video of the journalist in the room wearing the device and side-by-side a cloned view of what the journalist is visually experiencing. Something like what Steve Jobs did in the first iphone unveiling, but not live - an edited version would be more than fine, conveying both the visual experience and the journalists reactions.
This is a ground breaking technology with so many non-gimmicky applications that it's mind boggling. I was thinking earlier this morning how it can be used for driving assistance: wear the headset in your car and get an overlaid "google maps" experience without ever having to get your eyes off the road, pair it with the car's sensors and get collision distance information, coloured lanes in dark roads, etc.
How about (paired with sensors) measuring dimensions, inspecting components, counting objects, etc. in professional/industrial environments?
I don;t know, maybe I'm wrong but I feel this obsession with secrecy is hurting both their product and the technology
“We need more money.”
“We gave you $2 billion. You’re going to have to ship something before we give you more.”
“Hmmm...we aren’t ready to ship and may not be for some time...what if instead of shipping, we can show you that 50K people are interested in buying it? Will you give us some more money then?”
“Sure, you show us that 50k people want to buy it and we will write you another check”.
So they created an email opt-in page, photoshopped some 3D renders of a product that doesn’t exist yet onto a person’s head, and did a press release calling this page an “unveiling”. That’s really all this is - a “coming soon” page for something that may or
may not be vaporware. Investors are getting antsy and want some sense of what the actual market is for this thing.
They seem to be trying to bring a new thing into the world, I'm inclined to support it.
Just kidding, the internet site is really beautiful.
I don't see much to be gained from demoing prototypes to general public. If it's main blowing - great, but does not really make a difference if you can't buy it. If it's less than mind blowing, then you will just ruin everything. Even if you then later improve the product to the mind blowing level, most have already made their minds.
Not sure how how wide their product will spread though..
[disclaimer: I own shares in the company]
Considering the scope what they are developing (silicon that requires new fab technology), secrecy isn't the priority it would be if the problem was one that others could steal a march on by throwing money and bodies at it.
If they do ship, I predict that the product might very well meet all their technical claims, but will be a miss on their claims for utility and usability.
I imagine the reason they haven't shown anything is because they can only showcase the tech on the hardware itself, which isn't far enough along or in enough quantities to demo. I always thought the ads trying to show off some new 4k thing playing on my non-4k tv was silly.
If I look at the first demo of Micrososft's Hololens, it is all CGI.
By itself it is fair, you just can't make a good demo from first person capture of what the headset displays.
However, the demo was showing a room littered with augmented objects and minecraft blocks and people naturally interacting with them.
The reality of the very tiny cone of vision of Hololens make it feel extremely misleading.
In the end, it is hard to show something else that the vision of what you want to achieve and in Microsoft's case at least, there was a big gap between that and the limitations of the actual product.
For awhile I was demoing VR projects to non-techies (VPs, CEOs, and others). The most interesting response was when they took the headset off and they had forgotten what room they were in. Everyone's favorite demo was Tilt Brush because it showed off interactivity the most--not the ones with fancy graphics. It's hard to express those ideas without demoing it. As an aside; the demoing experience for VR is miserable. There's a very long line, people are required to set up and explain the demo and clean the equipment, and there's a learning curve and short time allotted for each demo. You can't just set up 5 unattended kiosks and let people figure it out.
Their videos are fake and do not show what they are building. The product might be neat, I don't know. We do know that they lie in their videos to get attention.
I have been an avid Magic Leap supporter for years. I told everyone I know about them and showed all my friends their videos. I've been gushing about them for years. All based on a lie. All my love and attention for them has been because they told us they were building a system for you to have AR without goggles. LIES. ALL LIES.
Boycott Magic Leap for life.
It's difficult to do marketing for things that aren't yet in productized form without them being aspirational to some extent or another.
Case in point, the public unveilings for the Kinect and original Mac were combinations of stuff that worked at the time of the demo and stuff they hoped to finish by the time they sold. The former didn't deliver, the latter did.
It's clearly bad to overhype a product, but you have to try and reach for what you think you can do even if you're not done yet. And for new product categories you're even more dependent on marketing than for established ones.
Is that the whale in the gymnasium video? If so, then I think the people were virtual as well. It may have been an empty room.
What we've seen so far is more toy like. But imagine an AR tutorial app that guides you through replacing the brake pads on your car.
It could point the the exact spot for the next step, instruct you which tool and size to use and all sorts of things assuming you can recognize the objects well enough and a specific tutorial was built for your car. You could even build tutorials by having it observe what you do.
That sort of application is probably pretty far off but having it as a HUD instead of having to pull out your phone every 30 seconds would be super useful.
In the industrial setting some workers are already using Google Glass type devices to have some information readable without pulling out a phone but those don't have any real AR features yet.
I keep hearing this from some sections of the VR community but I my personal feelings are entirely opposite. I simply don't have enough time for all the good VR content I've got access to. My backlog is growing.
Do you have incredible amounts of free time or do you have very specific tastes? Tilt Brush and Google Earth alone should be enough to keep a normal person entertained for most of their natural life!
And I'm quite happy for that software to be shorter and quirkier and less polished for the foreseeable future. Let a thousand flowers bloom. VR should also be bigger than gaming. Gaming would be just one application of VR - not it's raison d'etre.
Anything is better than it becoming a vehicle for annual releases of Call of Duty and FIFA.
Either way, looking forward to having a set in my hands/head.
You know the answer to that already.
Early reports (RoadToVR) say that the FOV is rather bad ("about the size of a VHS tape held at medium distance"). I'll wait.
*Okay not really but you know what I mean.