The $2 billion stealth start-up that has Google running scared
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Magic Leap.Peter Iantorno February 12, 2015
Magic Leap. A stealth start-up so stealthy that nobody really knows exactly what its up to, even though it has received major investment from some of the giants of the technology world - including a huge chunk from Google - and is valued at an astronomical $2 billion.
But what are they actually making? No-one knows for sure, or at least no-one knew until we were all given a massive clue recently, when the company filed a 180-page patent application, filled with imaginative sketches detailing futuristic uses for what looks like a pair of augmented reality glasses.
But hang on a minute, what about the much-hyped Google Glass? Well, it seems that Google was so convinced that Magic Leap’s grand plans would trump its own product that it decided to lead a massive $542 million round of financing towards the end of 2014, and then last month completely halted work on its own Glass Explorer programme.
Things just got serious. Once a product convinces Google to ditch its own project, which it has plunged billions of investment into already, and lead a group to raise more than half a billion dollars for its development, it’s safe to say that we can expect big things from it.
There’s no solid timeline for when we can expect the product, and all we have to go on for now is a set of rudimentary sketches taken from the patent application which, quite frankly, look like they've been drawn by a four-year-old.
However, if even a fraction of these functions make it into production, the future of augmented reality will be truly revolutionary. Welcome to the world of Magic Leap:
The glasses will be able to differentiate and respond to various finger commands to operate display menus projected into the real world. Real feelings
A haptic glove that vibrates and pulses could be worn while using the glasses to give the sensation of touching physical objects without the need for actually touching anything. Virtual interface
The glasses could provide a virtual interface with all the features you’d expect on your latest smartphone, displayed however you like, whether that’s a radial dial on the floor, a hula hoop around your waist or a crazy Iron Man-style universe display.
Place screens anywhere
Presentations, videos and touchscreen displays can be magically appeared on to any surface, or even thin air. Make the entire screen bigger and smaller by simply pinching like you would to zoom on a standard touchscreen device.
Your hand is the keyboard
You no longer need to carry around any device with you apart from the glasses. Your hand can be used as a keyboard, display menus and even take the form of an old-school iPod if you want to reminisce about the now-distant past.
The ultimate home office
No longer do you need to lock yourself away in a tiny box room to get some peace and quiet when working from home. The glasses can create a complete and functional office environment, blocking out all distractions. Turn boring activities into games
Bored of exercising, mowing the lawn and chopping vegetables? The glasses can turn all of these activities into fun and competitive games, giving points for what would otherwise be mundane tasks.
The glasses can be used in the medical profession by surgeons to brief patients about upcoming surgery, and also to help guide surgeons through procedures. They can then illustrate how successful the surgery was, or simply transport the patient to a relaxing desert island instead.
Details: Visit magicleap.com