Imagine waking up and having a screen appear in the air in front of you displaying the time, date and weather. Then imagine being able to interact with this technology and have it perform all of the same actions as your smartphone. Well, this hypothetical scene may soon become reality—mixed reality that is.
How It Works
Mixed reality is when virtual reality is overlaid on the real word, an idea being put to use by Magic Leap, a high-tech start-up company located in south Florida. This company is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye.
Currently exceeding all other virtual vision companies, Magic Leap works through the utilization of semitransparent goggles, allowing users to see their actual surroundings in addition to synthetic images. Powered by a chip, these goggles rely on silicon photonics, an evolving technology in which data is transferred among computer chips by optical rays.
Rio Caraeff, chief content officer of Magic Leap, said, “Anything you can do on a smartphone, you can do with Magic Leap, where the world is your screen.”
Having the lead in mixed-reality technology, funding has not yet proven to be an issue for Magic Leap. Since their developments began, Google, Andreessen Horowitz, QualcommKleiner Perkins, and other venture capital firms and industry leaders have chosen to invest into Magic Leap, leading the start-up to complete possibly the largest C-round of financing in history: $793.5 million. (To date, investors have funneled $1.4 billion into it.)
About Magic Leap
Magic Leap was launched in 2010 by its founder, Rony Abovitz, and initially operated its projects largely in secrecy. Since then, science fiction author, Neal Stephenson, has joined the team as a chief futurist, and released its first demo video named, “Just another day in the office at Magic Leap,” on March 19, 2015.
On October 10, 2015, Magic Leap released actual footage of their prototype demonstrating 3D spatial mapping, obstruction technology and apparent reflections of virtual objects interacting with real objects.
Then, in 2016, it was reported by Silicon Angle that Magic Leap has joined the Entertainment Software Association, and Bloomberg reported the company to have acquired Israeli cyber security company NorthBit to bolster its advanced software research.
According to Gizmodo, a design and technology blog, Magic Leap’s finished product will resemble, “a Google Glass on steroids that can seamlessly blend computer-generated graphics with the real world. A headset packed with fiber optic projectors, crazy lenses, and loads of cameras. An augmented reality that you’ll actually believe in.”
While the exact future of this technology cannot yet be determined, it clearly presents the potential to set the stage for all other mixed-reality, futuristic devices. With other big-name tech companies choosing to invest in Abovitz’s groundbreaking idea, the end product should be worth the anticipation circulating around news of its ongoing production.
“We’re actually gearing up to build millions of things,” said Abovitz. “We’re not ready to announce when we’re shipping, but it gives you a signal that we’re not far.”