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Lord of the Rings Director Thinks Mixed Reality Use Will Overtake Smartphones

Mixed reality (MR) devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens and the secretive Magic Leap are in their infancy. While HoloLens is available to US developers for $3000 USD, Magic Leap is still firmly under wraps, but the technology has already garnered significant interest from some notable names. One of them is Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson who sees MR being bigger than mobile devices.

Talking to Wired Jackson said: “I find mixed reality much more exciting than VR. Mixed reality doesn’t take you out of this world. Instead it adds elements to our real world. And it has great flexibility. You can add as little as you want – a single tiny figure on this tabletop talking to us – or you can replace the walls of this room with a skyscape so we’re sitting here watching clouds float by.”

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Jackson is currently working with Magic Leap on an advisory panel for the company, and his Zealand-based visual effects firm Weta Digital is developing a virtual world called Dr. Grordbort’s for the device.

“If you have your Magic Leap glasses on, you can look up at the Empire State Building and watch it being built in the early 1930s, floor by floor, but sped up,” he says. “Maybe while you are walking around the modern streets of Chicago you see gangsters driving past with tommy guns. It could be a form of education, entertainment, and tourism. In 10 years I expect that mixed-reality technology like Magic Leap will be used as much as, if not more than, smartphones.”

While MR has got some significant support it’s still far behind virtual reality (VR) in terms of consumer products. Alongside mobile head-mounted displays (HMDs) like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, 2016 has now seen the release of PC-based Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with PlayStation VR due in October.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of MR technology, reporting back any announcements.