Magic Leap Play, LEAPcon friends, and the future of XR as Language & Healthcare

October 26, 2018

Magic Leap.

The augmented reality glasses that were talking like they had it, the real deal, the holy smokes, the bonafide extended enhanced amazing powerful joyous reality altering machinery of the finest computation on your face!

Did they deliver with Magic Leap One?

You can count, right?

We’re on version one of version one version of new reality. So yes indeed does it have bugs and foibles. The FOV is just big enough to start getting a taste for proper synthesis of graphics and view. Yet it’s still a floating rectangle of perception. A big rectangle, yet edged nevertheless.  

For the voices getting upset that this tech is not good enough, I’ll just say that it’s good enough for everyone using it. Magic Leap One is an overall rad device with lots of computing power, solid inputs and some excellent touches that make it a really wonderful development platform. So good you could even live with it! Magic Leap’s whole team did a stellar job here, thank you!

We’re undergoing a big shift in a tech capability space that was just 7 years ago a gimmicky and searching approach to make goofy experiences of changing the world! Not the whole world of course, just the world of the computer sensor. We had lots of dreams and visions, but mostly showed each other with powerpoint and hopeful hand gestures. Times were dark yet hopeful.

First time using Ml1 at Steve Lukas’ house
FIRST TIME USING ML1 AT STEVE LUKAS’ HOUSE

Fast forward to now. Magic Leap is a Cambrian Explosion moment for the new ways of computing, now called XR. Magic Leap and Hololens are enough to catalyze the new ways of computing among us who research, create and build. And there are other models from ODG and the tech modules are shuffling around searching for form as new conglomerate companies.

It’s been funny watching the term “XR” come into use as it seemed to emerge spontaneously to signify a merging, or crossing, of all concepts related to computer mediation as applied to human perception.

The Magic Leap One is a very slick device and also a very alpha device. The displays have limited field of view, there are some fun differences between the color balance of each eye’s display and even between their focal planes. It washes out totally outside.

None of that changes the fact: Magic Leap One WORKS! It works well. Well enough to where we are seeing great things fast from an extremely excited community.

I have been dreaming of the launch of a generally useful, robust look-through spatial computer headset. I did not and still do not care what ‘brand’ it is, as long as the dang thing lets me do my visions and stories!

So when Magic Leap was announced I started befriending Twitter people who had an ML1 or were getting one. Anyone in the XR space doing fun and meaningful things. And it’s been so fun watching the people, techniques and demos emerge out of the woodwork around the next phase of getting XR from gimmick to holy shit.

LEAPCon

Don a VR helmet and meet John Hanacek on registration day @ LEAPCon #LEAPCon #MagicLeap

At LEAPcon 1 I met amazing people. The Magic Leap talks were inspiring, then AT&T got up on stage and I laughed loud enough that I bet you heard me if you were in that tiny presentation room. If you’ve read my blog at all, or know me, you know that I can often see the very real dark side of any given wonderful thing. Convenience often has a dark side. So I’m watching this space and tech closely, yet also am finding reasons for optimism. Specifically I’m meeting reasons for optimism.

The people give me the hope, especially my newest tribe #LeapNation which emerged on Twitter right after I met Steve Lukas of AcrossXR now Magic Leap who started the group chat. The “Magic Leap” has been very literal for me, suddenly collaborating and discussing with over 50 different talented developers pushing the boundaries and laughing the whole way.

Was great to see a real-life Lumin Runtime app from Sven Mesecke and his team at Rebel Camp in Oregon @dachsghund

Basically every app you can get from other developers on Magic Leap currently is a fully ‘immersive’ experience that does not utilize the UI/UX framework and OS layer that Magic Leap has with Lumin Runtime. Rebel Camp has a real app in that OS environment and it was great to see, even as a proof of concept. This is big and I’m very glad that Rebel Camp is getting the expertise to make Lumin OS apps because these are amazing test-beds to collaborate with Magic Leap on adding intelligence into the operating system while developers get that ‘for free’. If Android can evolve into a XR operating system, I’m all for helping. Hats off to Rebel Camp for diving into the Lumin rabbit hole and emerging with a rabbit.

Sven told me that jhana.space had proceeded me a little bit with him having found it in the forums as I asked the same questions he assured me weren’t crazy: how the hell do I get models with textures into ML1 reliably?!  

Developing for Helio browser is very fun, and I’m excited to see what official WebXR support looks like as it comes to the headset in 2019.

I have a special interest in the medical and therapeutic applications of XR, and it was my great pleasure to talk with two surgeons, Rafael Grossman and Alex Johnson at John’s Hopkins.

I sketched out with them a prototype idea that will keep brewing as many forms of knowing around energies, health and ‘trauma’ continue intersecting: contact-less surgery using vibrations and intention tracking channeled through the hands.

They are largely not satisfied with the current surgical robots, and so a vision of direct hands-on manipulation of tissues with a fidelity down to microns without the need for held tools excited them to say the least!

Brian (@ImmersionXR) from Immersion Neurotechnologies showed me his demo after us having talked over Twitter for weeks before. His work to get EEG into Magic Leap is amazing and path-leading.

At the Medical talks at LEAPcon I was very impressed by the quality of research and solutions people have been developing.

After the talk I learned from a Leaper that the Magic Leap One is getting heart-beat data and just using it for noise cancelling. She seemed coy as the Cheshire cat as to whether we’d get access to that data any time soon, so make sure to add your voice to the “we need heart beat please!” chorus haha

Important note about the reflectivity of Magic Leap One for first responders & therapists:

During training as a California State Beach Lifeguard we were told specifically not to wear reflective sunglasses on the job. If the victim sees their wound in the reflection of your lenses they can go into shock, which just made your job as first responder almost impossibly difficult. Most of lifeguarding first aid is to keep people out of shock. In my years as a guard I experienced the immense health benefit of ‘tactical lying’ to victims about the state of their condition. If someone can’t move their arms and legs, they don’t need you to freak out and tell them that. If someone has a massive gash on their head and they ask “how bad is it?” you can tell them it’s fine and they'll be fine. But that won’t work if they see their blood in your reflective lenses! So for all emerging medical prototypes with ML1 just remember that you have reflective lenses on, so be careful how you insert the ML1 into healthcare situations!

I’m finding humor, curiosity and heart are the keys to making this new medium emerge as something useful. Don’t take it too seriously, yet take it seriously enough to get passionate.

First time I used the Magic Leap was with Steve Lukas (@slukas) showing me his freshly received headset then I received mine on 9/9/18. Every day with it has been a horizon-widening experience. The form factor of ‘holographic headset’ is just singing with my imagination, and then comes all the learning of how to translate ideas to code!

This is a hugely exciting time to get in and shape the medium of ARVRXR whatever, you’re shaping R reality so stay open and find where everything intersects. My research goal is to use Magic Leap and other similar headsets to bring together many different knowledge threads in new ways of visualizing. We are to have a medium for thinking the unthinkable, as Bret Victor (worrydream.com) says.

We seem further along in some areas than I thought we would be and on pace for others.

Overall the thing that draws me in most about Magic Leap and this look through style of Mixed Reality is that I enjoy high quality physical environments and things. I want to expand and merge new aspects into a consensus reality more so than exist in many walled off realities. The best part about reality prime that we share by default is that no one owns the light that bounces off a painting or the sound that leaves my vocal chords as we speak and breathe.

The XR future that I care about is characterized by balance and by a revival of sacred aspects, such as plants being amazing beyond our tech, and real paintings made of atoms being wicked cool. It’s so fun to develop for a new holographic medium while sitting in my partner Kyra V Brandt’s oil painting artwork. A feeling of elevating and grounding of the computer medium in being something humane, and fundamentally artistic over specific. Emergent over prescribed. Gestural and free is how we can be with computers helping our minds and hearts to sing our most authentic forms and dance our most authentic songs.

Now we are entering a time of holographic spatial computation. A magical computer is still computational, a computational magic is still magical. Through our intentions channeled via tools we find ourselves building the world anew each day. Choose wisely and play deeply. Optimism and pessimism are each self fulfilling prophesies.

Explore this playlist of videos of my expereinces and experiments with Magic Leap: