Last fall, Google led an enormous $US542 million investment in a “cinematic reality” startup called Magic Leap that plans to realease a headset that will create realistic 3D images.
Magic Leap’s technology will use a different method than other virtual reality headsets, like Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Samsung’s Gear VR.
Those products use “stereoscopic 3D,” which means they essentially trick your eyes into thinking flat images have depth by showing each eye an image of the same object at a different angle.
Magic Leap’s technology, on the other hand, makes 3D images that appear to exist in the real-world by projecting light directly into your eyes.
“There are a class of devices (see-through and non-see-through) called stereoscopic 3D,” Abovitz wrote. “
We at Magic Leap believe these inputs into the eye-brain system are incorrect and can cause a spectrum of temporary and/or permanent neurologic deficits.”
Magic Leap’s technology, however, “respects the biology of the human eye-brain system” in a safer way.
Abovitz’ comparison came up thanks to a question about how he would compare Magic Leap’s product to Microsoft’s recently-announced Hololens device. However, it’s not clear whether Hololens actually does use stereoscopic 3D technology, or something else.
Here’s Abovitz’ full answer:
There are a class of devices (see-through and non-see-through) called stereoscopic 3D. We at Magic Leap believe these inputs into the eye-brain system are incorrect – and can cause a spectrum of temporary and/or permanent neurologic deficits.
At Magic Leap we created a digital light-field signal technology that respects the biology of the human eye-brain system in a profound and safe way – and the experience is awesome – and unlike anything you have ever seen before (except for the real world) :-)
When a user followed-up that response with a question about whether he should be concerned for his health if he uses those stereoscopic 3D devices regularly, Abovitz answered like this:
I would answer it this way – our philosophy as a company (and my personal view) is to “leave no footprints” in the brain. The brain is very neuroplastic – and there is no doubt that near-eye stereoscopic 3d systems have the potential to cause neurologic change.
There is a history (for optics geeks) of issues that near-eye stereoscopic 3d may cause – but this has always been very limited use and small populations (like the military). We have done an internal hazard and risk analysis (like the kind I did from my med-tech/surgical robotics days) on the spectrum of hazards that may occur to a wide array of users. Frequency of use, duration of use, and the neuroplasticity of the user are all key factors – but because we are all people – we may all be impacted.
I personally experienced a number of these stereoscopic-3d issues – and would not wear these devices -especially knowing that digital light-field systems are on the way and safe.
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