The virtual and augmented reality space is greatly evolving, thanks to visionaries, technical computing wizards and venture capital firms with deep pockets.
There’s Oculus, a company pushing virtual gaming to mainstream markets with Oculus Rift.
Then there’s Magic Leap.
Like other establishments in the field, the company is committed to disrupting visual computing on multiple levels. The only problem is, very few people know about its actual product or how it plans to pioneer the nascent industry. Each new blog post and press release leaves readers scratching their heads with more questions, instead of straightforward answers.
The Google-Approved Startup
Magic Leap was founded in 2011 by Rony Abovitz, who is also the current president and CEO. The company’s headquarters is located in Dania Beach, Florida, where it leverages an international talent pool of engineers, technicians and programmers.
In October 2014, with a valuation of $1 billion, Magic Leap secured a whopping $542 million during a Series B funding round. Obvious Ventures, Legendary Entertainment, Qualcomm Ventures and Google (not Google Ventures or Google Capital) were some of the notable firms that participated in the campaign.
Appointed to oversee the company as a board member is no other than Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President of Android.
“I work closely with [Magic Leap]. If you see the experience of what they’re delivering where you can be looking at the real world and you bring computing to work in that context I think is very powerful,” mentioned Pichai during an interview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
What We Know About the “Lightweight Wearable”
Abovitz and all 100 of his employees have done a great job keeping their projects under wraps. Up to now, no hardware specs or sketches of the product have been revealed. The CEO did clarify that the highly visual and immersive experience will not be facilitated by a clunky, box-type VR headset. Instead the exact term he used to describe the product was “lightweight wearable”.
The core capabilities of the hardware and software combination would allow users to interact with virtual objects in real world settings. During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Abovitz highlighted that the new technology has the potential to replace desktop monitors and mobile screens in the future.
“Magic Leap is going beyond the current perception of mobile computing, augmented reality, and virtual reality. We are transcending all three, and will revolutionize the way people communicate, purchase, learn, share and play,” said Abovitz.
A Small Taste of the Future
In March, Magic Leap released a preview in the form of a dynamic, virtual shooting game. The short clip starts off with the wearer accessing a set of floating menus in a nonchalant manner. Virtual enemies eventually interrupt the peaceful experience, forcing the individual to take them out using computer-generated, apocalyptic-style guns.
Overall, the video looked incredibly promising. It also doesn’t appear to be fully refined, which is acceptable at this very early stage of development. For those who want to see what else Magic Leap is working on, check out their latest hair-raising patent illustrations here.