philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


A group of Magic Leap alumni are making experiences for 50 pairs of smartglasses at once — and they’re working with Marina Abramovic

  • Technologists think that augmented reality is the next big thing that could replace smartphones, TVs, and all the screens in your life.
  • Alumni from Magic Leap, a hyped augmented reality startup, are now using the technology to create music and art pieces.
  • Their first work stars Marina Abramović and will premiere simultaneously to 50 people in London in February.

There are lots of challenges when recording a person in three dimensions, often called "volumetric capture," he explained. It usually requires an array of cameras, as many as 32, as well as a lot of care and time to put the images together in a way that can be placed into a real-world environment.

Other challenges include how colors are represented in augmented reality — red looks very different than, say, black, inside a headset that's based around displaying graphics inside transparent lenses. And each different augmented reality headset, like Hololens or ODG, also requires tweaks.

I was able to see a short preview of the Abramović piece on a Magic Leap One, although I was nowhere near London. Inside the smartglasses, you could see the artist, and although there were technological limitations including the headset's field-of-view, cutting off parts of the virtual people in frame, I felt her "presence" in the room with me — but I was just in a conference room in New York.

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