Augmented Reality seems to be all the rage these days. Last week at GTC 2015, we saw some rather interesting augmented/virtual reality demos from Google and some of its software development partners. Using the Project Tango Developmental Tablet, demos were shown of Zombie Gunship Reality and an in-door navigation app that directs you to your destination via on screen arrows.
But perhaps the most amazing use of augmented reality that we’ve seen yet — at least with regards to gaming — comes from Magic Leap, a company that has received half a billion in venture capital funding from Google and a number of other backers. Magic Leap apologized for not making an appearance at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and to make amends, posted a video entitled “Just another day in the office at Magic Leap” to YouTube.
The video shows a person interacting with a YouTube clip and opening Gmail to flip through some emails, before spinning a carousel-like on-screen menu to select a game. And that’s where the action really starts to liven up. The person in the video then picks up a weapon and proceeds to start zapping enemy robots that drop from out of the ceiling, and even brings in some additional help in the form of a turret that automatically tracks and eliminates the robot invasion. The demo ends rather abruptly when a tank bursts through the wall and fires its gun at the player.
The demo is meant as a showcase for Magic Leaps augmented/virtual reality headset and it definitely looks very impressive. But we have to ask, how much of this is actually possible with current hardware and software technology? If you ask me, the demo looks a little too good to be the real deal. Magic Leap doesn’t really do much to satiate my desire to know more other than to say; “This is a game we’re playing around the office right now (no robots were harmed in the making of this video).”
My Spidey-Senses are also tingling at the appearance of Weta Workshop’s logo directly below Magic Leap in the closing credits for the YouTube video. Weta Workshop is a New Zealand-based special effects and prop company that produced effects for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Not even Microsoft’s HoloLens, which was announced back in January, is capable of the level of interaction portrayed in this
demo carefully orchestrated special effects production. With that being said, Google invested a boatload of money into Magic Leap for a reason, so the company likely does have some jaw dropping IP that could advance the sector — what remains to be seen is how close its current efforts are to looking as polished as the results seen in the video above.