Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz stepped outside his usual veil of secrecy for a rare glimpse into the company’s big plans today, fielding questions in an hour-long Reddit Ask Me Anything event.
The technology startup that made headlines in October by securing a staggering $542 million in Series B financing led by Google, remained mysterious about its product development and timelines but hinted at information releases soon to come.
“One of the reasons I’m on Reddit is that we are looking for ways to share (pre-launch) our unique digital light-field experience with the public – and to gauge interest – it appears that there is a lot of interest – stay tuned 🙂 (gold tickets coming),” said Abovitz.
Magic Leap’s revolutionary technology, alluded to for months now, seems to center on a new perception of reality for computing.
Its Digital Lightfield™ would allow users to “see” virtual objects in real time as if they were there before you. One Reddit commenter dubbed the technology “reality reality”.
Magic Leap differs from stereoscopic 3D virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift in that there will be no disconnect between what is real and what is not. Users will not be confined inside boxy devices strapped to the face as they are today.
“VR (as known today) is a stereoscopic 3D, world-blocked-out, cell-phone-in-front-of-your-face in a View-master-type configuration,” said Abovitz.
“Our vision for AR and VR is a true replication of visual reality. The ONLY safe way forward is to make a digital light field that is naturally tuned into your brain and physiology. And it’s amazing how when you give the mind and body what they want, how much it gives back,” he said.
Through research and personal experience Abovitz pointed out, he has come to recognize the potential harm existing stereoscopic 3D devices present.
Magic Leap’s “philosophy as a company (and my personal view) is to “leave no footprints” in the brain. The brain is very neuroplastic – and there is no doubt that near-eye stereoscopic 3D systems have the potential to cause neurologic change,” said Abovitz.
Developers chomping at the bit to create applications for the new technology may get their chance sometime this year said Abovitz.
“We are working hard at creating early accessibility for developers. Due to the proprietary and unique nature of our hardware and software, we will have proxy systems and tools, as well as provide access to prototype and production pilot systems pre-launch (to qualified developers). This is a goal for this year.”
“We are developing a product platform to enable developers of all kinds, as well as a global creative/maker community to build the coolest stuff ever on it,” he said.
In addition to 3D content, Magic Leap hopes to also make 2D content like books available, in a way that would closely mimic the way the human eye perceives 2D objects.
The technology would essentially abolish screens, allowing users to interact with images that appear to be reality. The experience would be much more than cinema tricks though, touching our everyday lives.
“Everyday computing will be amazing in our platform – and we are in talks with all kinds of app and experience developers, including social, mapping, productivity, creation, communication,” hinted Abovitz.
Is Magic Leap poised to disrupt computing as we know it?
Who knows, like everyone else, we’ll just have to wait and see… Until then it is interesting to note that Google pulled the plug on their wearable tech, Google Glass in January, citing plans to create a separate operation for it.
See full Magic Leap Reddit AMA here