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Wearable Tech

Magic Leap is now available across the US

And with prescription lenses. Plus, more details on new games and apps, and where Magic Leap's heading next.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

At Magic Leap's first LEAP developer conference on Wednesday, the focus was largely on inspiring artists and developers to find ways to create (or be interested in creating) augmented reality worlds.

The company's Magic Leap One headset has been available only in a handful of US cities up till now. Today it's available across the entire US. The price remains the same, at a lofty $2,295, but two-year financing starting at $96 a month may offer developers an easier way to foot the bill. 

Prescription lenses are now being offered as well, something that was promised back when I first tried the Magic Leap One Creator's Edition in August. But my eyes are still too myopic for prescription lenses, and yours might be too. Check when you're ordering to be safe, or you'll need contact lenses. (I'm around a -8.5.)

The Magic Leap One is the best standalone AR headset at the moment, but is still an embryonic technology that's more of an exploratory tool than a mass-market device. 

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Seedling, by Insomniac Games.

Insomniac Games

Games and apps announced: Star Wars Porgs, Insomniac's Seedling, an AI personality

There isn't much of an app library for the Magic Leap One yet, but more games and experiences are slowly arriving. Magic Leap launched new games into its Magic Leap World app store on Wednesday: a full version of the WETA Workshops-developed steampunk shooter Dr. Grordbort's Invaders, which I tried briefly in August; Angry Birds: First Person Slingshot; Wayfair Spaces (a furniture-layout shopping app); and an experimental augmented audio app from Sennheiser.

Other upcoming apps were teased, too: Seedling, from Insomniac Games, looks like an alien AR gardening game. ILMxLabs' Star Wars: Project Porg is coming to Magic Leap in December, featuring lots of Porgs and Anthony Daniels as C-3P0. And Magic Leap announced Mica, a human-type AI designed to explore how AR can achieve communication and intimacy.

Magic Leap's conference also laid out plans for the headset's evolution over the next few months, including support for two six-degree-of-freedom controllers by early 2019, along with iris-unlocking on-device biometrics using eye tracking. AT&T's John Donovan was at the conference as well, waxing bullish on AR's potential in 5G and comparing Magic Leap to the first iPhone. 

AT&T is creating a 5G test zone at Magic Leap's Florida headquarters to start working on future projects over fast wireless broadband. Eventually, according to Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz, the plan is for city-scale interconnectedness to allow augmented "Magicverses" to dovetail with IoT and create ways for virtual and real things to interact.

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