As I wrote last time, Palmer Luckey in his article, “Magic Leap is a Tragic Heap” did a brilliant job of succinctly explaining how Magic Leap over-hyped their device and how the two focus planes is a tragic fail. I wrote about focus planes and how they would be a failure many times including back in December 2016 with “Magic Leap: Focus Planes (Too) Are a Dead End” and January 2018 with “Magic Leap House of Cards – FSD, Waveguides, and Focus Planes.”
But one thing I believe Palmer got at least half-wrong was his speculation that the Magic Picture showing a person looking into a bunch of fibers was a total fake and that the “fibers” were really electro-luminescent (EL)wires. According to Paul Reynolds (formerly of Magic Leap and MugOfPaul on Reddit) in a Reddit discussion, Palmer was wrong about the picture having electroluminescent wires and not being optical fibers.
Quoting Palmer Luckey:
Above is a telling picture from a piece Magic Leap did with Wired magazine a couple years ago, back when they were still hyping up scanning fiber displays. See the fancy-looking, high-tech light up strands? They don’t do anything. It is just electro-luminescent wire. It looks great to casual observers, but does not hold up to any kind of scrutiny from people who are in the know. If you want to try using it to dress up your own costume, gaming PC, or multi-billion dollar hype machine, you can buy a nice assortment for $20 here.
Quoting Paul Reynolds:
Being as that I’m one of a relatively small group people that actually put their eyes in that lab set up, I feel confident in saying Palmer is very wrong in saying those were EL wires. Those fibers were functional light sources and in the live demo it was pretty obvious. It was not an FSD, though.
I do believe that this picture was meant by Magic Leap to mislead people into thinking that Magic Leap’s “Magic” was their much hyped (mostly by others mislead by Magic Leap) fiber scanning display (FSD). I have reported many times, including here that FSD is another tragic fail by Magic Leap.
I had an anonymous source over a year ago say that the picture was lasers going through fibers to illuminate a DLP. I have had other sources tell me that at least some the early Magic Leap prototypes used DLP
Using lasers with optical fibers to couple them to a DLP is being used today for large theaters (such as Dolby Laser Theaters) using Cristie Laser Projectors. I know they have been doing this for at least eight years. The image above is from a Christie webpage (image number 13 on their popup). The fibers and their glow resemble those in the Magic Leap picture. The color shifts that may have seemed like other colors are caused by the high saturated laser colors blowing out the light sensors on the camera in both the Magic Leap and Christie pictures. It is not much of a stretch to believe the anonymous tip that Magic Leap was using DLP with lasers, only they were using them field sequentially (rapidly displaying one color at a time) whereas the Christie projector using three DLPs (R, G, B) that are constantly illuminated.
So while most of what Palmer wrote I believe to be correct, I think he was half-wrong on this one.