Despite being one of the most talked about and best-funded startups, surprisingly little is known about Magic Leap, the Florida-based company that is developing mixed reality technology to turn the real world into a computing platform. And, while a patent filing Tuesday appeared to give the first glimpse of the hardware that could power this potentially revolutionary technology, this has been quickly dismissed.
A patent filing awarded to the company on Tuesday for “a virtual reality headset” shows a headset that looks like something from the latest "Star Wars" movie and similar to the many VR headsets available in the market today. It features a helmet-like section that fits over your face, linked to a size adjuster at the rear.
What is known about Magic Leap, from several video demonstrations it has published, is that the company is working on a “mixed reality” device that overlays computer images onto real world objects and allows users to interact with them. This suggests the “virtual reality headset” that the patent covers is not what the company is ultimately working toward — which in fact, turns out to be the case.
Speaking to Mashable, Magic Leap’s vice president of public relations, Andy Fouché, said the patent drawings were “part of [Magic Leap’s] R&D and experience validation” and that “it’s not at all what our product will look like.”
The patent — which is a design patent rather than a utility patent and therefore, covers the look of the headset rather than how it works — does at least give us a glimpse into what hardware Magic Leap has been working on even if it is not the final product.
That final product is still shrouded in mystery, with no release date, price or specifications being released by the company, which has so far raised $1.2 billion at a valuation of $4.5 billion from high-profile backers like Andreessen Horowitz, Google, Alibaba, JP Morgan and Warner Bros.