Published On: Tue, Apr 26th, 2016

Video: The Latest View into Magic Leap’s Augmented Reality

Megic Leap

Earlier this month, Magic Leap—a mysterious startup building an augmented reality system—released another video of its psychotropic technology. The company, which has been funded by Google and technology investors like Andressen Horowitz, has closely guarded its secret “photonic light field” technology, but many have called it revolutionary.

The demonstration has latched onto the excitement for virtual reality and its possibilities for creating new experiences. Technology journalist Kevin Kelly, who has followed virtual reality devices for nearly 30 years, recently wrote that it will create “a Wikipedia of experiences” for people to download on demand.

Magic Leap’s technology, which has largely been kept secret, creates what has been called “cinematic reality.” Most of what we know about the device was revealed in a patent, “Planar Waveguide Apparatus with Diffraction Elements, ” filed by Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz in 2011. It defines a headset with small projectors that beam images directly onto your eyes, and sensors that blend the images with your surroundings (allowing virtual jellyfish to vanish underneath tables, for instance, only to appear on the other side).



According to the patent filing, “where the planar waveguide is constructed of a partially or wholly transparent material, a human may view real physical objects through the waveguide. The waveguide display system can, thus, comprise an optically see-through mixed reality (or “augmented reality”) display system, in which artificial or remote image data can be superimposed, overlaid, or juxtaposed with real scenes.”

The technology, which invites comparison to Microsoft’s HoloLens, differs from virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. While the mixed reality of Magic Leap merges digital images with our surroundings, virtual reality transports users to entirely new locations, generated by computers or captured with video cameras.

Those who have used Magic Leap’s technology have injected a significant amount of money into the startup, which has shunned Silicon Valley for offices near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Led by Google’s investment arm, the latest round of funding raised $793.5 million, pushing Magic’s Leap’s total funding to $1.4 billion.

This article was first published at Electronic Design, by James Morra

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