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SIGGRAPH 2019: Diving Into Undersea From Magic Leap Studios

SIGGRAPH 2019: Diving Into Undersea From Magic Leap Studios

With Magic Leap’s Undersea, you can go to the aquarium every day without leaving your living room.

Earlier this week, Magic Leap released Undersea, a room-scale, spatial computing experience for the Magic Leap One. According to a news post from Magic Leap, Undersea started off as a demo with one fish that led you to a big aquarium. This week at SIGGRAPH, Magic Leap showed off what that demo has evolved into.

At SIGGRAPH, Magic Leap had a mock living room set up for attendees to demo in. It was roughly the size of a small apartment living room, with a lounging couch up against the back wall. In the center was a coral reef that came up to my chest, and behind the couch was a “portal.” 

My first instinct was to climb onto the couch and attempt to look through the portal, which offered more than I had anticipated. Leaning up against the wall, I was able to see further into the portal. The level of detail was quite impressive; there was a shipwreck in the distance, large coral formations, and lots of vibrant, beautiful fish swimming about. Undersea’s portals impressed me the same way Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders’ did: The small windows on the wall offered more than what you would think. It’s details like this that make these experiences more immersive.

One thing that has always impressed me with Magic Leap experiences is the hand tracking. At this point, I’ve tried a handful of Magic Leap experiences and games. The impressive hand tracking has always been consistent. In Undersea, you are able to get the attention of swimming fish, and guide them with your hands. At one point, a cute clown fish was swimming away. I leaned forward to touch its tail with my finger. Much to my surprise, the fish stopped swimming, and then turned around to look at me, allowing me to then guide it around with my hands. 

undersea living room magic leap

Unfortunately, the Undersea demo was only two minutes long, and the FOV for the Magic Leap One remains a bit underwhelming. Often times when looking around, I would get clipped visuals of what I was looking at. If a fish got close to my face, most of its model would get cut out, and I’d have to make dramatic turns to find it again. You almost have to go in expecting your FOV will be a bit cutoff,  which can take away from the overall experience.

Overall, I did enjoy my short time with Undersea. I can totally picture myself using it in my living room to relax, or help with anxiety. The visuals are beautiful, and if the FOV obstacle gets tackled, it would be a near-perfect experience for what it is. 

There’s also an eel at the bottom of the coral structure. I don’t know if the eel has a name or not, but they are very mean and will hiss at you. Don’t worry, though, if you try to touch them, they’ll just hide. 

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