Augmented reality ( AR ) startup Magic Leap used the opening keynote of its L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles Wednesday to preview its plans for the future. These include not only software updates for its recently launched Magic Leap One headset as well as an ambitious plan for city-wide AR information layers, but also a possible Burning Man-style gathering of developers in the desert.
Some of the biggest changes coming to the headset include the ability to use two controllers, something the company is promising to launch early next year. The Magic Leap One headset currently only works with one controller, which can be tracked with 6 degrees-of-freedom through a 3D space.
Magic Leap's software roadmap.
Magic Leap chief content officer Rio Caraeff also had some more immediate news to share: The company is expanding delivery of its Magic Leap One headset to five cities across the U.S. Previously, the headset was only for sale in a handful of cities, where the company has been delivering it with a kind of concierge service that includes personal fitting as well as some instructions to get started.
Magic Leap will also launch Avatar chat, a multi-user chat room with personalizable avatars, in November. Other announcements included a bug bounty program. Magic Leap will award $200,000 to developers reporting bugs to the company.
Executives like Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz also used the event to give some clues about the company's farther-reaching plans. One of the more notable tidbits was that Magic Leap wants to build city-wide AR information layers. "Think of the city having a form of sentience and awareness," Abovitz said. Apparently, some of that work has already begun behind closed doors. "There are actually city-scale projects that we are engaged in as a company," he said.
Furthermore, the company is working on its very own AI assistant, which is code-named Mica and is supposed to have "human-like qualities," thanks to gaze tracking and more.
Abovitz also shared a bit of more left-field news, musing that the company may launch its very own version of Burning Man as a multi-day event for developers, complete with spirit journeys. "We probably need a kind of Burning Man in the desert," he said.
Magic Leap and its partners also used the L.E.A.P. conference to announce, preview, and in some cases launch a number of games and experiences for the headset. These include Weta Workshop's "Dr. Grordbort's Invaders," "Seedling," an AR experience from Insomniac Games, and ILMxLAB's "Star Wars: Project Prog."
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