Would You Wear This $2,295 Headset?

Would You Wear This $2,295 Headset?

The long-awaited Magic Leap One could tap into fashion's AR obsession.

The long-awaited Magic Leap One could tap into fashion's AR obsession.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

The wearable gadgets landscape just got more gadget-y. Today, augmented reality company Magic Leap officially launched its long-gestating prototype—the Magic Leap One, a pair of techy goggles that transposes immersive, 3D renderings onto your existing surroundings. While the technology may sound like a hybrid of Google Glass and Pokémon Go, the Magic Leap One arrives with a special degree of fanfare thanks to years of hype and a reported $2 billion in funding by the likes of Google and Alibaba.

Still, as with any new frontier, the question of whether or not anyone is going to wear the thing remains. Aesthetically, the rounded lenses and tubular headband are less bulky than competitors like Oculus or the HTC Vive Pro, yet more bug-like than the original Google Glass. And while the $2,295 price tag exceeds any any commercially available VR device, it includes door-to-door delivery service and custom fitting.

Historically, the fashion industry has been an early adopter of reality-enhancing wearables. In 2013, model Raquel Zimmerman rocked Google Glass in a futuristic story by Steven Klein for Vogue’s September issue. And this year, Zara launched AR-enabled mirrors that allow shoppers to see themselves trying on virtual outfits.

While it’s not hard to imagine the practical applications of augmented reality in the business of fashion, Magic Leap’s place in the fashion landscape remains to be seen. However, early reviews reflect the Florida-based company’s investment in reaching new, creatively-minded audiences; the device’s suite of applications includes a painting and artwork tool called Create to the music AR app Tonandi, a partnership with Icelandic dream-pop band Sigur Ros. So who knows—Magic Leap One today could mean Ready Player One tomorrow.

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