Magic Leap is secretive Florida-based company said to be working on a game-changing augmented reality system. The company's aim is to start with the user rather than the technology: "[We observed] that current technologies we use to access the digital world limit, or even take us away, from the real world," the company writes. "[We concluded] that the future of computing should be derived from respecting human biology, physiology, creativity, and community. Why can't computing feel completely natural?"
To that end they created something called a Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, reportedly a method of projecting images onto a user's retina. They refer to the system as "biomimetic, meaning it respects how we function naturally as humans." While no images of what the device looks like has been released, earlier this year MIT's Technology Review reported:
…It's safe to say Magic Leap has a tiny projector that shines light onto a transparent lens, which deflects the light onto the retina. That pattern of light blends in so well with the light you're receiving from the real world that to your visual cortex, artificial objects are nearly indistinguishable from actual objects.
TR further theorized that Magic Leap's device would be "a chunky pair of sports sunglasses wired to a square pack that fits into your pocket." Meanwhile the job description for "Industrial Designer" on Magic Leap's website states "Experience designing soft goods or fashion is preferred," so it seems a sure thing the device is wearable.
As for what the experience of using it will be like, back in March they released a POV demo video, allegedly showing a game that Magic Leap employees were actually playing in their offices:
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That video was produced in collaboration with New-Zealand-based effects house Weta Workshop, who has been hired to produce games for Magic Leap. It was widely assumed (but never confirmed) that Weta doctored the video, presented a more seamless and cleaned-up version of what the company could actually produce.
And so, perhaps to allay skepticism, last week Magic Leap released a second teaser video, claiming that this is the real deal:
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Assuming it's real, it appears they've certainly got the visuals into market-ready shape. But none of the user interactivity depicted in the first video is shown, so it appears the UX—which we all know is a long road—has yet to be perfected.
With only those two videos on their YouTube channel and a strict policy of silence on potential release dates, Magic Leap is maintaining their air of mystery. But they have secured over half a billion dollars in VC funding and are currently going on a hiring spree, so we're holding out hope that this doesn't turn out to be vaporware.
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