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Are these Magic Leap’s $1.4 billion AR Glasses?

Magic Leap has just got closer to its long-rumored augmented reality glasses. 

On Tuesday, the company – which is backed by $1.4 billion in funding – was granted a patent for what appears to be the firm’s AR glasses.

The patent drawings depict somewhat bulky-looking glasses with cameras on both arms and what appears to be two pairs of lenses stacked on top of each other.

A front perspective of the glasses pictured in the patent. The patent drawings depict somewhat bulky-looking glasses with cameras on both arms and what appears to be two pairs of lenses stacked on top of each other

In a twist, the document is for ‘virtual reality glasses.’

This is surprising since Magic Leap has previously released demonstration videos depicting augmented reality.

However, VR and AR are used interchangeably enough that the glasses could still be used for augmented reality experiences, but seeing as this is a design patent, technical details are lacking.

While the patent states that Magic Leap applied for it in September 2015 and that Magic Leap is the assignee, the company is denying it depicts its actual glasses.

A Magic Leap spokesperson told Business Insider that these are not Magic Leap’s product.

‘As you know, we file lots of patents that take a long time to get approved and so what you are looking at is not our product,’ she said. 

A side perspective. Investors who recently demoed the AR glasses spoke of two additional components: a large battery pack than can places in the wearer's pocked as well as a GPU and CPU that meant to attach to a belt

A side perspective. Investors who recently demoed the AR glasses spoke of two additional components: a large battery pack than can places in the wearer’s pocked as well as a GPU and CPU that meant to attach to a belt

Unnamed sources with knowledge of the company’s hardware said the design is close in appearance but that the real design is bigger and bulkier, according to Business Insider.

One source also said the glasses will have just one camera, as opposed to one on each arm as pictured. 

The source added that they are like ‘thick-rimmed like hipster glasses.’

MAGIC LEAP: WHAT WE KNOW

In October 2015, Magic Leap announced it had raised $542 million in funding, led by Google. 

Other investors included Qualcomm, the world’s leading phone chipmaker, Andreessen Horowitz, KKR, and Legendary Entertainment.

Now others including Alibaba are on board, and the company has raised $1.39 million. 

Unlike current VR headsets, Magic Leap is a ‘mixed reality’ device.

So, the user is able to see through the glass, called the ‘photonic lightfield chip.’ 

Investors and other insiders who have tried the top-secret glasses said that while smaller than VR headsets, the glasses are on the bulkier side and like swim goggles with large lenses.

They are larger than Snapchat’s Spectacles, they said.

Those demo units were said to have a large battery pack the size of two iPhones stacked on top of each other attached and able to be placed in the wearer’s pocket.

A separate component – meant to be worn on a belt – contained the GPU and CPU and was about the size of a portable CD player.

This investor look was in the spring, which indicated the glasses depicted in the patent may be an older version that has already been scrapped. 

Investors and other insiders who have tried the top-secret glasses said that while smaller than VR headsets, the glasses are on the bulkier side and like swim goggles with large lenses.

They are larger than Snapchat’s Spectacles, they said.

Those demo units were said to have a large battery pack the size of two iPhones stacked on top of each other attached that could be placed in the wearer’s pocket.

A rear perspective. Unnamed sources with knowledge of the company's hardware said the design is close in appearance but that the real design is bigger and bulkier, according to Business Insider

A rear perspective. Unnamed sources with knowledge of the company’s hardware said the design is close in appearance but that the real design is bigger and bulkier, according to Business Insider

Another look at the patented glasses design. One source also said the glasses will have just one camera, as opposed to one on each arm as is pictured

Another look at the patented glasses design. One source also said the glasses will have just one camera, as opposed to one on each arm as is pictured

A separate component – meant to be worn on a belt – contained the GPU and CPU and was about the size of a portable CD player.

This investor look was in the spring, which indicates the glasses depicted in the patent may be an older version that has already been scrapped. 

Magic Leap is backed by powerhouses including Alibaba, KPCB, and Google.

Google released AR software called ARcore on Tuesday, but the companies have not commented on if the Magic Leap glasses will run it. 

‘As you know we are building full stack computing — hardware, software, content, etc,’ the Magic Leap spokesperson told Business Insider.

In March, it was reported the company will releases its much-anticipated glasses – which are meant to compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses – later this year.

A release date has yet to be announced, but it’s believed they will cost around $1,000.

‘The “light-field” eyewear is said to be smaller than Microsoft’s HoloLens, with a wider field of view, but larger than a regular pair of glasses,’ the Financial Times report said.

‘The headgear will be tethered to a small pack that provides battery and processing power, to put in a pocket or attach to a belt, and is likely to cost in excess of $1,000. Magic Leap declined to comment.’

Florida-based start-up Magic Leap has revealed a few precious details of its futuristic eye wear, which it says gives users ‘mixed reality’.

A previous Magic Leap demonstration showed a solar system appearing in front of a user. The glassesare set to compete with Microsoft's HoloLens glasses and cost around $1,000

A previous Magic Leap demonstration showed a solar system appearing in front of a user. The glassesare set to compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses and cost around $1,000

A demo released in April last year showed smartphone notifications and applications projected at eye level over the top of a user’s office environment.

As a message pops up in the notification window, the user can view the item and click an attachment to open up files. 

Last week, Facebook got closer to its own augmented reality glasses as well.

Three members of the company’s VR arm Oculus applied for a patent for AR glasses that would allow wearers to see virtual objects – and presumably Facebook posts and notifications – in the real world around them.

The glasses will take on the Spectacle from Snap, which has dominated consumer-friendly AR with its famed filters (which Facebook is known to steal). 

Three members of the company's VR arm Oculus applied for a patent for AR glasses that would allow wearers to see virtual objects - and presumably Facebook posts and notifications - in the real world around them. Pictured: A diagram of Facebook's near-eye-display (NED) 

Three members of the company’s VR arm Oculus applied for a patent for AR glasses that would allow wearers to see virtual objects – and presumably Facebook posts and notifications – in the real world around them. Pictured: A diagram of Facebook’s near-eye-display (NED) 

FACEBOOK’S AR GLASSES PATENT 

Facebook’s VR arm Oculus patented an augmented reality system for glasses that would allow wearers to see virtual objects – and presumably Facebook posts and notifications – in the real world around them. 

The technology will use a waveguide display to project light onto the wearer’s eyes to show images and video.

The approach is similar to the one used by Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset and the mysterious glasses being developed by the Google-backed startup Magic Leap. 

The pictured design is smaller and sleeker than the HoloLens headset.

 Pasi Saarikko, who came to Oculus as lead optical scientists after leading the optical design of the HoloLens at Microsoft, is one of the patent authors.

According to the filing, the display ‘may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements’ and ‘may be included in an eye-wear comprising a frame and a display assembly that presents media to a user’s eyes.’

Oculus will be developing the glasses, titled in the patent as ‘waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner.’

Using a waveguide display, the technology will project light onto the wearer’s eyes to show images and video.

The approach is similar to the one used by Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset and the mysterious glasses being developed by the Google-backed startup Magic Leap. 

In fact, one of the patent’s authors is Pasi Saarikko, who came to Oculus as lead optical scientists after leading the optical design of the HoloLens at Microsoft.

However, the pictured design is smaller and sleeker than the HoloLens headset. 

Zuckerberg has long been known to be placing big bets on AR.

He believes that soon we won’t even use phones and will be instead be connected through AR technology. 

‘You’ll just have glasses, or eventually contact lenses – [You’ll be able to] look around and see different things and interact with [by] using your hands and reaching out and grabbing stuff,’ he told The Verge.

‘That, I think, is the next logical step for how we’ll interact with this.’

‘We’re really excited about pushing both of those trends forward.’

The Facebook founder first unveiled the company’s augmented reality system in March at the firm’s annual F8 developer conference as part of the ‘second act’ in Facebook’s camera strategy – a new platform to allow developers to build AR apps.

'We know where we want this go eventually - glasses or contact lenses that overlay this,' Zuckerberg said

‘We know where we want this go eventually – glasses or contact lenses that overlay this,’ Zuckerberg said

He also hinted at the firm’s more distant future, confirming rumors it is developing a radical mind reading computer interface – and promised more details on the project ‘soon’. 

‘We’re building further out beyond augmented reality, and that includes work around direct brain interfaces that one day will let you communicate using only your mind, although that stuff is pretty far out,’ he said. 

He first unveiled a new augmented reality platform allowing developers to build AR apps. 

Zuckerberg said new phone-based applications might include creating a three-dimensional scene from a single two-dimensional photo or splattering the walls of your house with colorful (virtual) art.  

‘You may have noticed we rolled out cameras across our apps, that was act one,’ he said.

Today, we’re going to talk about act two – augmented reality.

Zuckerberg showed several demos of possible Facebook AR apps

Zuckerberg showed several demos of possible Facebook AR apps

‘We know where we want this go eventually – glasses or contact lenses that overlay this,’ Zuckerberg said.

‘This will help us mix the physical and digital in new ways, and make reality better’.

‘I used to think glasses would be the firm major firm factor. But we are seeing versions with out phone cameras’. 

‘Giving developers the power to build for augmented reality.

‘We’ll start today with basic effect such as face masks. 

You’ll have thousands of options.’ 

However, Zuckerberg said the system will be more complex than simple snapchat-style filters.

Last year, Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s 10-year road map that calls for powerful technologies to radically alter how people connect with friends and family and the world at large.

Zuckerberg said games were likely to be a key component, and showed off a demo of a game turning a table into an AR game, allowing children to interact with objects on it. 

‘This isn’t going to happen overnight, over time I think this will change how we use our phones, and eventually all of our technology,’ he said.

‘Even if we were a little slow to add cameras to our apps, I’m confident we will move this along.’ 

Zuckerberg also confirmed the firm was developing a ‘mind computer interface’ that will one day allow users to communicate machine and said more details would be made available about the project soon. 

It recently revealed the existence of a new division, known only as ‘Building 8,’ which is dedicated to creating ground-breaking products at the intersection of hardware, software, and content.

And a new job advert posting suggested that the mysterious division could be working on mind-reading technology. 

One advert is for a ‘brain-computer interface engineer’ to work on a ‘2-year B8 project focused on developing advanced BCI technologies.’

Details on what the job will involve are limited, but the advert adds that one of the key responsibilities will be applying ‘machine learning methods, including encoding and decoding models, to neuroimaging and electrophysiological data.’

The second advert is for a ‘neural imaging engineer’ who will be responsible for ‘a project focused on developing novel non-invasive neuroimaging technologies.’

Both jobs are based at the Menlo Park site in California.  

These limited descriptions suggest that Building 8 might be working on monitoring how brain activity changes when looking at pictures or videos.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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