Magic Leap first stepped into the spotlight last year when a team of investors led by Google injected more than half a billion dollars into the mixed-reality startup.
The Florida-based company, well known for keeping its cards close to its chest, has for some time been talking up the ideas it has for transforming the world of augmented and virtual reality. In fact, CEO and founder Rony Abovitz last year dismissed the two platforms as “old terms,” opting to describe Magic Leap’s technology as “cinematic reality.”
In his latest appearance – at the WSJD tech bash in Laguna Beach, California on Tuesday – Abovitz continued to tease tech fans about what the company has up its sleeve, describing its hardware as a self-contained computer that’s small and light enough to wear comfortably while walking about, though presumably it doesn’t resemble Google Glass.
According to Engadget, the CEO said the design of the hardware is such that you won’t mind wearing it out in public, though we guess the consumer will be the judge of that. As for what kind of experience to expect, check out the video above, which Abovitz says was shot entirely with its hardware with no post-production effects added.
The short clip starts with a diminutive robot hovering under a desk before hiding behind one of its legs. After that comes a moving model of the solar system, with the “sun” reflecting off the top of a desk. Both segments suggest the gear can make sense of its physical surroundings and blend the images accordingly.
The CEO said that while the video doesn’t entirely represent the experience you’ll have with Magic Leap’s platform, it is nevertheless “pretty close.” A more elaborate take on its tech was offered in another video posted earlier in the year, though that one was full of special effects.
Magic Leap is initially aiming to make an impact in gaming and entertainment with its forthcoming platform. Earlier this year, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson, hired as the company’s “chief futurist,” said the time was right to offer gamers a new medium. The writer described a platform “in which three-dimensionality is a reality and not just an illusion laboriously cooked up by your brain, and in which it’s possible to get up off the couch and move not only around your living room, but wherever on the face of the Earth the story might take you.”
On the subject of when consumers might actually have a chance to get their hands on this somewhat mysterious piece of kit, Abovitz would only say the company is moving into a former Motorola factory in Florida to manufacture the device, and is gearing up to ship “millions” of units. Asked about a timescale, the CEO said, “We’re not announcing when we’re shipping, but we’re not far.”
With Magic Leap over the last 12 months promising much but at the same time revealing relatively little, and with companies such as Microsoft in the meantime showing off similar-sounding gear like HoloLens, patient tech fans are keener than ever to see exactly what the Florida-based startup has been bashing together in its secretive workshop. Hopefully we’ll know more soon.