Palmer Luckey: Magic Leap “does not deliver on almost any of the promises”

Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR and designer of the Oculus Rift, is a divisive figure, but when it comes to VR and AR he knows what he is talking about, and he’s not too impressed with Magic Leap’s ML1 headset.

He has a number of criticisms of Magic Leap’s controller and operating system, calling the first “the worst implementation (of magnetic tracking) I have seen released to the public” and the second  “just Android with custom stuff”, noting  “it is some of the worst parts of phone UI slammed into some of the most gimmicky parts of VR UI.”

He does praise the decision to move the processing unit to the hip pack, noting the desperate need to keep any headset as light as possible.

He holds his worst criticism however for Magic Leap’s main selling point, their supposed Lightfield technology, saying in short:

The supposed “Photonic Lightfield Chips” are just waveguides paired with reflective sequential-color LCOS displays and LED illumination, the same technology everyone else has been using for years, including Microsoft in their last-gen HoloLens. The ML1 is a not a “lightfield projector” or display by any broadly accepted definition, and as a Bi-Focal Display, only solves vergence-accommodation conflict in contrived demos that put all UI and environmental elements at one of two focus planes. Mismatch occurs at all other depths. In much the same way, a broken clock displays the correct time twice a day.

He concludes the Magic Leap One is more Hololens 1.1 than a revolution and suspects only a few thousand have been sold so far to enthusiasts, and not many to developers.

Read his much more detailed critique at his blog here.

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