Magic Leap One – NVIDIA Jetson TX2

We have know for some time (February, 2017) that Magic Leap has been using the Jetson TX2 for research and development:

Image: Business Insider

This shot shows a rig in development. While the purpose of that particular hardware is a little muddy, the recent announcement of the Magic Leap One Developer Edition is crystal clear.

Teardown!

We have little interest in hype, but we certainly have a lot of interest in the inner workings of a state of the art augmented reality device!

iFixit has a wonderful teardown of the Magic Leap One hardware. Looky here:

This is quite an amazing video, extremely well written and presented. There’s a bunch of good stuffs in there! There’s enough technical bits in there so that you can understand how it works, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s geeky enough for geeks!

You should read the full article: Magic Leap One Teardown

Walk Through

Finding a review with balance of the hype versus reality versus what is currently technically possible is difficult. Here’s one of the best of the lot from Adam Savage’s Tested: Magic Leap One Augmented Reality Review!

Tested has a show/web series “Perceptions” which covers the VR/AR space. This means that they have experience with the current VR systems as well as experience with the current AR systems, such as the Microsoft Hololens. Their review is much more in balance than some of the others out there because they know the current market space.

Their description of the focal plane implementation is spot on, and is also one of the key aspects as to why this is such a difficult problem area. Waveguide displays (Magic Leap calls theirs a “photonics lightfield chip” ) have been around for awhile, but this is certainly a push forward. Multiple waveguide displays have the potential of making AR look more lifelike.

Other Interesting Articles

The DesignNews article: Magic Leap One Teardown: A Leap Forward for AR/VR? has other tidbits of information gleaned from seeing the innards up close.

Palmer Luckey (who founded Occulus) has a little different viewpoint worth pointing out. Magic Leap is a Tragic Heap points out in an interesting manner some of the design tradeoffs engineers have to make to bring products to market. At the same time, there tends to be the age old conflict from the marketers go to market strategy and publicity. It’s nearly always interesting to see how that plays out when the rubber meets the road.

Jetson in the Middle!

As Jetson developers, this is very interesting. There are a wide range of connected peripherals such as cameras, speakers, and multiple displays that require near real-time processing.

Some people from the peanut gallery have commented on the price ( ~ $2295 USD ), the practicality of the device, and all sorts of things. It’s almost as if they don’t even read the first line of the first paragraph. This is a developer kit. We all know developers are special. If the comments are from people who are not developers who actually are using the device, that’s a good time to hit the mute or ignore button. Developers are very much capable of blustering on their own, thank you very much.

This is the developer hardware. It still has to go through all the production engineering to get ready for the consumer market. That process tends to make the product become much better. It will be interesting to see what is on the horizon.

Conclusion

We get a lot of general questions comparing the Jetson Development Kits to other single board computers (SBC). “What is this for?” “What is it used for?” “Why should I buy this?” This is mostly from hobbyists comparing the Jetsons to a Raspberry Pi or some such. It’s not a fair comparison for a variety of reasons. The products are for different markets. The Jetson Development Kits are ostensibly for developers who are building state of the art devices like, well, Magic Leap One. Obviously the form factor of the Jetson TX2 product in this case is different from the development kits full size mini-ITX carrier board. However, having the dev kit means that you can start developing immediately without having to bring up a new carrier board.

At the very least, this is a device which shows the true capabilities of the Jetson given enough development time and resources. Impressive.

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