We’ve seen Magic Leap’s device of the future, and it looks like Merlin’s skull cap

Depending on the reality you seek, the latest virtual reality news is either really nifty or really dorky.

The much-hyped startup Magic Leap – backed by Google, Warner Brothers, JPMorgan Chase and others – recently won a patent for the design of an augmented reality headset. The device, according to a report in Wired, would let users superimpose calendars, kids pictures or jellyfish over day-to-day life. So-called mixed reality or augmented reality is seen by many as consumer technology’s next big wave.

Magic Leap’s design patent, which was granted on Tuesday, could offer the first look at what some say may be the most revolutionary tech gadget in years. It could also illustrate a stubborn problem that’s been holding augmented reality back.

It’s hard to imagine looking cool while wearing the devices.

Magic Leap’s headset design has just been patent approved. Photograph: Magic Leap US patent filing

The headset features a quarter-dome piece of clear material that would sit in front of and above users’ heads. It’s not discreet.

Unlike standard virtual reality headsets, Magic Leap’s device would let users see the rest of the world around them while superimposing virtual content in all directions. It has more in common with Google’s ill-fated Glass, which offers basic web search information and map directions through an augmented reality – if far less graphically impressive than Magic Leap.

In a promotional video released by Magic Leap in April , a man looks around his desk at a three-dimensional rendering of daughter’s school project and shoes he might like to buy. He then tilts his head up and notices jellyfish are floating majestically above his desk.

In the future, augmented reality companies see the technology being used to place people inside films or meet a friend for coffee at their kitchen table, even if the friend is on another continent.

It couldn’t be confirmed if the design published Tuesday is the final design for Magic Leap’s first product. Despite raising a lot of money from marquee investors, the company hasn’t set a release date and has said almost nothing about the product outside of one major interview with Wired in April.

Not everyone who has seen the design – which has echoes of Merlin in the 1981 film Excalibur – is a fan.

— (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ ǝʞɐɾ (@jacobkleinman)
June 7, 2016

There’s no way magic leap’s final product looks like this but if it does then its pretty much DOA pic.twitter.com/JfxyNLM6sq

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