Technology

Magic Leap Headset Is A “Tragedy,” Says Oculus Founder

Magic Leap headset magic leap one Palmer Luckey
Image Source: Magic Leap (screenshot)

Magic Leap launched its first mixed reality headset – Magic Leap One – a few weeks back with much fanfare, with CEO Rony Abovitz calling the $2,295 headset a “full-blown, working consumer-grade product.” However, the founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, isn’t at all impressed with the Magic Leap headset, and even called it a “tragic heap.”

Magic Leap headset – why it’s a “tragedy”?

Luckey did a review of the Magic Leap headset in a blog post titled Magic Leap is a tragic heap. “[The Magic Leap] is less of a functional developer kit and more of a flashy hype vehicle that almost nobody can actually use in a meaningful way, and many of their design decisions seem to be driven by that reality,” Luckey says of the Magic Leap One.

Palmer Luckey even called the headset a “tragedy in the classical sense, even more so when you consider how their massive funding and carefully crafted hype sucked all the air out of the room in the AR space.”

Further, he claimed that the Magic Leap uses the technology that Microsoft has been using in the HoloLens for the past three years. Moreover, the company has not added anything new to the technology. Also, the OS powering the Magic Leap headset – LuminOS – is just a customized version of the Android, and not a new OS as was expected from Magic Leap.

Palmer Luckey also took a dig at Magic Leap’s tracking technologies, noting that they are as complex as it can get. The controller in the Magic Leap headset features magnetic tracking, which is different and is viewed as more complex than the optical tracking systems used by most of the VR companies, including Oculus.

Luckey also trashed the headset for the lack of a clickable trackpad. Talking of the headsets’ UI, the expert said that it appears developers have stuffed the “the worst parts of phone UI” into the “most gimmicky parts of VR UI.”

Palmer Luckey – who is he?

It is not that Luckey only had negative comments; he applauded the company for reducing the weight of the headset by placing the computer separately into a device, which one can wear around the waist. Luckey gave the feature an “A+,” saying, “This approach also allows them to use much more powerful chips than they could feasibly cram into a head worn device.”

Concluding his review of the Magic Leap headset, Luckey said that the headset is nowhere close to the hype created before the launch, adding that the product is “not good for the XR industry.”

Luckey’s thrashing might not be seen as coming from a competitor as he has moved beyond the VR headset segment professionally. Luckey’s new venture, called Anduril Industries, is focused on developing border security technologies. Despite his new venture, he has been making his presence felt in the VR space with blogs like these.

Luckey joined Facebook in 2014, after Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. He left the social networking giant in March 2017 following a controversy over his funding of a pro-Trump group.

Magic Leap One – what it is?

Following Luckey’s review, Magic Leap CEO came out to defend their product. He fired a series of tweets making reference to the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and implying that Luckey is a “bitter, angry, banished Zuko.”

Magic Leap One is an augmented-reality headset that uses a light field display. The bundle, which costs $2,295 and comes in two sizes, includes the Lightpack computing pack, a sizing kit, the Lightwear headset, a handheld input device, chargers and a quick start guide. The hand-held PC features a USB-C port, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, 128GB of storage and 8GB of system memory. It also comes with a built-in rechargeable battery, which allows three hours of continuous use.

Magic Leap has been in development for the past few years. Before the launch, the headset built up a lot of buzz with claims that it would revolutionize the personal computing space. The buzz around was so powerful that even when the company had no real product, it was able to secure over $2 billion in funding.

It is not just Luckey who gave a negative review on the Magic Leap One, the device has previously been criticized by other experts as well. Even teardown specialist iFixit raised concerns over the hardware.