Magic Leap headset beyond research mode, CMO says


Magic Leap’s lightweight headset debut may not be too far into the distant future, according to CEO Rony Abovitz

Speaking with Fortune magazine at the Brainstorm Tech conference this week, the founder of the billion-dollar startup company based in Florida, which until recently has been quite secretive, said a launch “isn’t a decade out”.

The company now employs 600 people, and thousands have reportedly tried the light field tech, mixed reality headset under nondisclosure agreements - meaning they can’t talk about it.

Abovitz told Fortune Magic Leap has a large factory, with production lines that “look like aircraft carriers” which it is debugging this summer. It's also reportedly already got external developers creating content experiences for the devices.

“We are in that ‘go’ mode, and hopefully soonish the public will see," he said.

"It’s not in research mode anymore," CMO Brian Wallace added.

Not like AR or VR - MR is its own beast 

Magic Leap’s computing platform isn’t anything like VR or AR glasses, Abovitz said, and instead aims to blend its light field signal technology with people’s own to use the brain as a computer display, rather than a device.


“We’re giving a neurologically true visual perception, in the same way you are there with your own light and sound field, as long as you’re not touching something, digital objects you see are neurologically true and it's one of the thing you have to experience to believe,” he added.

Apparently the images are so real, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not - so the company has been looking at its style guide and design for UI as to how digital objects should behave against the real world so people can differentiate.

Potential partnerships?

Magic Leap has a partnership with Lucasfilm at the moment, and is exploring several more - although can’t say with whom just yet. Although, it did mention something about the wildly popular AR app Pokémon Go in its Fortune interview which may hint at something there.

“In Magic Leap, I would see Pokémon like I see real people - not looking through a screen, but you could have them running around hiding behind chairs and flying in the sky. It would be pretty epic, we love what they’re doing, it’s a gateway to a future,” Abovitz said.

Gaming, office life and beyond

But Magic Leap won’t just be for gaming. CMO Wallace explained how he envisaged the tech being used and adopted in the office, in much the same way as iPads were. In fact, Abovitz said his aim before launch was to have all computing done via the Magic Leap headset, having “the world around [him]” as the computer.

In addition, media and healthcare are two other sectors the company is looking toward for their product to be used in - areas where VR has already been making a sizeable splash.

Abovitz added as a whole, the company considers itself to be a “baby Apple”, and is building a full stack computing company from the ground up - everything including the hardware, software, electronics, chip designs and sensors.

“We want to deliver something that has never existed and there's no way to do it unless you design it all.”

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