LONDON -- Augmented reality startup Magic Leap has shown off the latest demo of its technology, displaying high-resolution objects projected onto the world around us, including a retro-looking robot and a moving representation of the solar system.
We don't know what the technology looks like. We don't know what it is really capable of doing. We don't know when it is going to launch. We don't know how much it will cost. And yet, Magic Leap is one of the most talked about technology companies in the world. On Tuesday, the company released only the second demonstration of what it is capable of doing, showing an office setting onto which it projects objects.
The video, which was "shot directly through Magic Leap technology" last week, has not been altered in post-production, according to the company. "No special effects or compositing were used in the creation of these videos," it said.
Speaking at the WSJDLive conference in California, Magic Leap CEO and founder Rony Abovitz and Chief Content Officer Rio Caraeff said that Magic Leap turns the real world into a computing platform: "Anything that you can do on your smartphone, on your computer; you'll be able to do on Magic Leap," Engadget reports Caraeff saying.
Giving a few more details about what the device would look like, Abovitz said it would be "self-contained; a complete computer," hinting that unlike the likes of Google Glass, Oculus Rift or HoloLens, Magic Leap would be something you could wear in public allowing you maintain "normal relationships with people."
Magic Leap has hired a team of neuroscientists and PhDs to work on how the brain interprets the world around it and wants to use a new technology called Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, or Digital Lightfield to create a single, seamless universe. "With Magic Leap, your brain doesn't distinguish what's real and what's Magic Leap," he said. "Because as far as your brain's concerned, it is real."
The company has given away virtually nothing about exactly what it is building, but it has been giving some people early access to its technology, with noted industry analyst Benedict Evans tweeting about his experiences with Magic Leap on Tuesday:
I’ve had the Magic Leap demo. It was worth going to Florida for.
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) October 21, 2015
Earlier this month, the company announced its 100 employees would be moving into Motorola's old offices in Florida, and the company said that almost one-fifth of the office space, or 50,000 square feet, would be dedicated to a clean room for high-tech manufacturing which the CEO said would allow the company "ship millions of these things." When asked about a shipping date, Abovitz said: "We're not announcing when we're shipping. But we're not far." Back in October 2014, Google Inc. led a $542 million series B funding round in the company.
Magic Leap says it is completely different from the range of virtual reality headsets being developed at the moment and which are gaining a lot of attention. Augmented reality is seen as the next step, with Microsoft Corp. unveiling its HoloLens headset earlier this year.
In March, Magic Leap gave the world the first indication of what it was working on with the video below, which demonstrates how apps and desktop icons can be brought out from a screen and controlled by a user's hand to check things like email in 3D. The first-person video goes on to show how the technology can be used to create an immersive shooter game that uses physical weapons to fight virtual robot enemies.