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Magic Leap Reveals AR Headset First-Look Images, Sets 2018 Ship Date

Magic Leap, the augmented-reality startup that has raised more than $1.7 billion, continues to tease out details of its forthcoming AR platform that it is promising will revolutionize the nascent industry.

On Wednesday, the stealthy startup announced the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, an augmented-reality platform “built for creators who want to change how we experience the world,” according to its website.

Magic Leap said the headset will ship in 2018 — however, it didn’t release any pricing info or a specific release date. The company’s initial AR headset will be priced at $1,500-$2,000, according to a Blooomberg report.

The goggle-like Magic Leap One headset the company revealed includes sensors that detect surfaces, planes and objects, allowing for “digital reconstruction of your physical surroundings,” according to the company. The device uses a companion Lightpack, a disc-shaped accessory designed to worn on the hip that houses the processing and graphics rendering for the Magic Leap One.

“The result is a system that sees what you see, allowing lightfield objects to not only exist in the physical world but actually interact with it,” Magic Leap says. “Whether it’s virtual displays sitting alongside the computer monitor on your desk or a virtual panda that climbs across your living-room couch, visual perception with machine learning unlocks the power of spatial computing.”

The device’s spatial interface includes multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking. Magic Leap One also includes 3D “soundfield audio” features to replicate real-world sounds, according to the company.

Also next year, Magic Leap says it plans to launch a creator portal, offering software tools for developers to make apps and content experiences for the AR headset. For example, the platform will let web developers optimize their content for “spatial browsing, enabling new ways to shop and explore with 3D objects,” the company says.

Magic Leap’s extensive roster of investors includes Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Google, Alibaba Group, Fidelity Management and Research Co., J.P. Morgan Investment Management, T. Rowe Price, KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures. Others include Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings; EDBI, the investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board; Grupo Globo from Brazil; and Janus Henderson Investors.

Last year, Disney’s Lucasfilm and its ILMxLAB R&D unit announced a strategic partnership with Magic Leap and released a proof-of-concept video with “Star Wars” droids C-3PO and R2-D2. Under the pact, the companies formed a joint research lab at Lucasfilm’s San Francisco campus to develop new forms of AR and mixed-reality storytelling.

Other partners include Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based VFX company, which is producing content for Magic Leap’s platform. Magic Leap is based in Plantation, Fla., with offices in L.A., Sunnyvale, Calif., Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Zurich, New Zealand and Israel.

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