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I’ve seen two competing visions for a future in which virtual objects are merged seamlessly with the real world. Both were impressive in part, but they also made me wonder whether augmented reality will become a successful commercial reality anytime soon.

I’m the only person I know of to have tried both Microsoft’s HoloLens and the system being developed by a secretive startup called Magic Leap.

I got a peek at what Magic Leap is building back in December (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015: Magic Leap”). In that demonstration, 3-D monsters and robots looked amazingly detailed and crisp, fitting in well with the surrounding world, though they were visible only with lenses attached to bulky hardware sitting on a cart, and no release date has yet been revealed.

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