As the VR project of Magic Leap is starting to develop, the choices that the company makes are under discution. As it appears, the patent application for the technology created by Magic Leap is using copies of several UI concepts previously presented at different occasions, within illustrations and renderings belonging to other projects and artists.
The images below will help you form a more documented opinion. They surely do speak for themselves. These comparison shots show an illustration that was submitted together with the patent application, on the left and the UI concept used for copying, on the right. All UI concepts on the right belong to someone else and, as far as the word goes, these owners have not been contacted for approval. As Magic Leap confessed that they are only trying to patent what’s in the pictures – that is, only the mechanism that creates those user interfaces.
Here are the images used for their UI concepts:
- from Sight, the film where a man plays Fruit Ninja with a real cucumber that becomes part of his meal
- from the Ringo Holographic Interface – by then-UI-design-student Ivan Tihienko in 2008
- AR concept from interaction designer Joesph Juhnke called “The Future of Firefighting”:
- one from designer Michaël Harboun and his team called The Aeon Project.
- two images from “Meditating Mediums – The Digital 3D,” – this was the graduating thesis for Greg Tran at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
- One that all movie fans will recognize immediately
It is common practice that patent attorneys generally insist that all images included in a patent filing are original work. It’s very risky to copy any image because the Patent Office might throw out your application, if discovered.
Magic Leap claims that “Images like some of those we used were taken from entertainment, medical, education, commerce, and a variety of others areas. Images such as these are setting consumer expectations of VR and AR today. We wanted to use the same images to demonstrate what our technology will enable. Our patents are around the technology, not the images.”
“We were thinking Star Wars chess could have been used too, and think how cool that would have been.”
After all, these UI designers might not be angry, but rather flattered, now that a company with $542 million in funding is actually building a way to realize their dreams.