“The Magic Leap One Experience” (Part 1, View Simulator Build)

I wanted to share with you some pictures of a project I am calling “The Magic Leap One (ML1) experience.” After writing my earlier article Magic Leap One – FOV and Tunnel Vision, I realized that there was enough information to build a 3-D model that would simulate the view of the real world when looking through the headset, which I am calling a “view simulator.”  The view simulator is meant to demonstrate how much the headset, even without the added problems of the optics, blocks the user’s view of the real world.

Based on a reader’s question, I added a Lightpack™ (computer) with a cord attached to test out other ergonomic issues, such as how much the cord will get snagged when wearing. Magic Leap patent applications US20180053284 and US20180052277 helped confirm the accuracy of the model by providing more detailed views of the headset and the Lightpack.

The picture above shows my 3-D printed models photographed from a similar view as a Magic Leap marketing image below it. The Magic leap image proved to be a composite shot, Photoshopped, and with the cord between the Lightpack and the headset hidden from view.

The most important measurements for my visual study is the size and location of the inside (entrance) and outside of the light tunnel for each eye. The entrance is about 40mm, and the exit is 48mm but tilted relative to the entrance. This tilt puts a slight downward “bias” in the view. I started with Sarah Kimberly Eusche’s analysis on her blog SAKIE and added many other measurements. The view inside and outside (below right) of the headset helped align the entrance and exit ports of the light tunnel.

I have also included some information on the typical interpupillary distances. This distance is essential in establishing the view through the ML1, as the lenses are in a fixed position and not adjustable as they are on most VR headsets and block so much of the view compared to other AR headsets.

In the comparison picture at the start of this article, the lenses overlap the “tunnels” which makes them appear bigger than on the ML1. I did this to prevent seeing seams where the lens meets the tunnel.  I used non-polarizing sunglass lenses that block about 80% of the light which is close to what the ML1 does.

Below right shows the light tunnels I generated compared to the patent drawings. Note, the patent drawing only shows about half of the light tunnel as it has to continue on the other side of the waveguide (part labeled 11001 in the figures below). I then added a shell and some temples arms for wearing and used a 1″ elastic band to hold them onto a person’s head.

The patent drawings in US20180053284 were helpful in determining the shape of the LightPack™, but I had to estimate the scale from several pictures of it. One thing to note is that the battery pack is in the oblong part and the computer board is in the circular part and that they are fixed together rather than having a spring-loaded clothespin-like connection.

I also built a simple rig to facilitate view simulation. The rig allowed me to take the pictures below right showing the “eye view” through each side.

For the next article in this series, I will discuss what it is like to wear the ML1 view simulator.


I would like to thank Ron Padzensky for reviewing and making corrections to this article.

Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
Articles: 243


    • I was already planning on publishing the files (.STL format) as part of my next article (hopefully today or tomorrow it will go up)

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