Magic Leap, the high-flying South Florida company developing “mixed reality” technology, released a new two-minute video showing its technology, timed with the publication of an extensive report in Wired magazine.
As with other videos it has released, a Magic Leap spokesman said the video was shot directly through the Magic Leap system, and no special effects were used in its creation. It is dated April 8. See it here.
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Wired’s co-founder and “Senior Maverick” Kevin Kelly received an exclusive look at the Magic Leap technology for his report in Wired’s May issue, which was also a deep dive into the world of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality and the technologies of Magic Leap’s competitors. The article explained Magic Leaps’s technology and its “photonic lightfield chip” in greater detail than past reports, but the references are vague, such as these:
“The user sees the outside world through the glass, while the virtual elements are projected from a light source at the edge of the glass and then reflected into the user’s eyes by the beam-splitting nano-ridges,” Kelly wrote. “Magic Leap claims that its device is unique in the way it beams light into the eye, though the company declines to explain it further at this time. ...
“In trying out Magic Leap’s prototype, I found that it worked amazingly well close up, within arm’s reach, which was not true of many of the other mixed- and virtual-reality systems I used. I also found that the transition back to the real world while removing the Magic Leap’s optics was effortless, as comfortable as slipping off sunglasses, which I also did not experience in other systems. It felt natural.”
Natural is what Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz is going for – technology that is an extension of the body, rather than an intrusion, “that will deliver and Internet of presence and experience and rather than just data,” he has said in past interviews. While exactly how Magic Leap’s technology will be delivered hasn’t been disclosed, it has been assumed in the tech press that it will be through some type of glasses or headshet. Said Kelly: “It’s no great leap to imagine such glasses also replacing the small screens we all keep in our pockets. In other words, this is a technology that can simultaneously upend desktop PCs, laptops, and phones. No wonder Apple, Samsung, and everyone else is paying attention. This is what disruption on a vast scale looks like.”
The secretive company with more than 150 patents still gave no timetable on bringing its first product to market. Funding will not be an issue: Magic Leap has received nearly $1.4 billion in venture capital from Google and others, including $793.5 million in the first quarter in a round led by Alibaba, to develop and manufacture the technology.