Admit it. We were all collectively blown away by the Magic Leap tech demo last year. Sure, it’s easy to be jaded in the Internet era. But, damn it was cool.
Today, we slide a bit closer to the company’s reality with another demo and interview with WSJD Live. Lots of questions and plenty of cryptic answers. CEO and founder Rony Abovitz and Chief Content Officer Rio Caraeff have a career in politics if it doesn’t work out.
I know. We are still in the tech demo phase. We don’t get a look at the device. Still, the solar system is beyond cool. Am I the only one thinking a Michael Bay app where we get to toss asteroids at the planets?
Oh right. The education possibilities.
How will Magic Leap work? The world is your screen. “Anything that you can do on your smartphone, on your computer; you’ll be able to do on Magic Leap,” said Caraeff. As for the device itself, both were mum on the details but promise it will be mobile, light and something you can wear anywhere.
“It’ll be self-contained; a complete computer,” said Abovitz.
He also made it a point that the device would be something you’re not ashamed to wear in public. Wait, there are things people are ashamed to wear in public? Brother, I live in Alabama. We have Super Walmarts. Abovitz promises Magic Leap will maintain “normal relationships with people.”
When you have to say ‘normal relationships,’ I immediately start thinking of headlines of the random jackass performing something not so dignified with your technology.
[divider]Magic Leap vs. VR[/divider]
There was no way Magic Leap was going to leave an interview without a dig at VR. The company claims it is something entirely different than strapping two screens to your head. I hope so because there would be salty remarks for years if it turns out to be two screens.
Abovitz explained the company’s approach to creating its device. “We treat human biology as our center point. Everyone already has a head-mounted display. It’s your head!”
“Think of the world as a moving hologram that’s bouncing off everything.”
Ok, I know the Internet wants to go full troll mode because we haven’t seen hardware, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the guy’s excitement.
[divider]Magic Leap OS[/divider]
Windows or Android? How about neither? The company decided to build its operating system from the ground up. It has to match the latencies of the human visual system. Sorry, Windows 10. You know we all still love you.
“You can’t just use a stock OS,” he said. “We have to build it.”
A new OS typically means worry for developers looking to get in on new hardware. No worries on that front, Magic Leap wants your team on the hardware building out apps and new technology.
“We want to invent a core light field technology, build a compelling product and open that up for people to create compelling experiences,” said Caraeff. “Ultimately it’s about letting the world visualize their dreams and live a magical life full of whimsy and wonder.” Use cases for Magic Leap will initially be focused on gaming, entertainment, media and communication, but the market will expand over time. “We’re not trying to build [just a] games company,” said Abovitz.
Hey, don’t knock the asteroid game idea. You’re the one that showed off the solar system.
Magic Leap’s Timeline
The elephant in the room. When the hell do we get to see the device and what about ship dates? The word is soon. The company just moved into a former Motorola factory for manufacturing tooling.
“We’re gearing up to ship millions of these things,” Abovitz said. “We’re not announcing when we’re shipping. But we’re not far.”
I’ll keep my hopes up for the company. Mainly because VR gives me horrible motion sickness. But, we need to start seeing real-world tests and the glimpses of the hardware. Soon means you have prototypes damn near ready for primetime.