What is Magic Leap doing? In 2014, the company got a half-billion dollar investment, led by Google itself. Its product is reportedly a set of glasses that project hyper-realistic images into the world, and it's been seen only by a select few. The company has promised to let the rest of the world in on the secret soon, revealing some potential uses of the technology. For now, though, we're stuck trying to deduce what Magic Leap's product is, how it works, and whether it's really as good as advertised.
Oct 16, 2018
Florida-based startup Magic Leap became infamous for hyping itself as a revolutionary company whose vision for augmented and mixed reality would transform the worlds of computing, communication, and entertainment — whenever it finally decided to show its hyper-secretive technology to the public, that is. The company set expectations high, but when it finally shipped its first headset, the Magic Leap One Creator Editor, the consensus was that some of those expectations hadn’t been met. Magic Leap hadn’t magically solved AR’s biggest challenges, it turned out. Like the Microsoft HoloLens before it, Magic Leap’s headset was a glimpse at a compelling, but far from mature, technology that simply couldn’t deliver on the grand vision founder Rony Abovitz had laid out for augmented and mixed reality — or what Magic Leap calls “spatial computing.”Read Article >
Last week in Los Angeles, the company held its inaugural developers’ conference, dubbed L.E.A.P. Con. (The acronym stands for “learn, engage, accelerate, and program.”) In many ways, a developers’ conference feels like the perfect environment to discuss a nascent technology like Magic Leap. This kind of gathering focuses heavily on potential — what creators and executives hope will one day be possible — while allowing a healthy dose of demonstrations and guidance about what’s actually possible today. The conference was a snapshot of the current state of the company, and it was hard to not walk away invigorated by the potential of AR and MR — even though the timeline for anyone to deliver on that potential is still up in the air.
Mar 19, 2018
Augmented reality startup Magic Leap is taking the first steps toward opening its platform to outside developers. The company just announced a preview of its software development kit and “creator portal,” which will offer resources for people who want to build for its yet-unreleased Magic Leap One headset. You can now download a preview build of the Unreal or Unity engines, designed for what Magic Leap dubs “spatial computing.”Read Article >
The creator portal touts a set of tutorials, a community for technical support, and a “Magic Leap Simulator” that will presumably help people preview apps before they get a headset. The Magic Leap One was announced late last year, and it’s supposed to be released this year, but we still don’t know details about the exact date or pricing. The portal says that a marketplace called “Magic Leap World” will launch soon.
Feb 14, 2018
Magic Leap is planning multiple editions of its augmented reality glasses for different levels of consumers and professionals, with the cheapest starting at the price of a “higher-end mobile phone to higher-end tablet,” says company president and CEO Rony Abovitz. “I think we’re trying to establish certain tiers — we’re not going to be a single-product company over time,” Abovitz told an audience during an interview at Recode’s Code Media conference today.Read Article >
Abovitz says the Magic Leap One, a “creator edition” headset that’s supposed to be coming out this year, falls somewhere in the middle of Magic Leap’s price range. “We will have a product line in that price point probably for the company’s history, and we’ll probably have some above and we’ll have some below,” he says. “We’ll have even higher-end [versions] for hyper-pro, and then we’ll have wide mass-market” products.
Magic Leap has finally unveiled its much-hyped augmented reality hardware platform, promising that the first units will ship next year. These will be first-generation development kits, but they’re a step toward Magic Leap’s ultimate (if lofty) goal: creating ubiquitous lightweight glasses that add virtual objects to the real world. And that, in turn, sets off major privacy alarms.Read Article >
Like most smart glasses, Magic Leap’s headsets will collect a constant stream of user data. They feature an array of cameras and microphones that capture everything you see and hear. The cameras detect shapes in your surroundings, and the microphones can take audio commands. But Magic Leap’s patents suggest more sophisticated, and sometimes downright creepy, uses.
Dec 20, 2017
Magic Leap is finally releasing a developer version of its augmented reality system next year. The company has promised an SDK in early 2018 (three years later), to be followed by the actual hardware, called the Magic Leap One.Read Article >
Magic Leap has already attracted heavy investors in the form of Google and VC firms, but over the years it’s offered frustratingly little news about what the tech will actually offer. Its partners include Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós, Weta Workshop, ILMxLAB, and messaging platform Twilio, though its creator portal is expected to open up its software to more interested parties. Here’s what we can expect so far.
After more than three years, Magic Leap has unveiled what it describes as a “creator edition” of its augmented reality system. The Magic Leap One consists of a pair of oversized cyberpunk-y goggles, a puck-shaped external computer called a Lightpack, and a handheld controller. It’s supposed to accept “multiple input modes including voice, gesture, head pose and eye tracking,” and maps persistent objects onto the environment — “place a virtual TV on the wall over your fireplace and when you return later, the TV will be right where you left it,” the site promises. An SDK is supposedly coming in early 2018, and the hardware is supposed to ship at some point next year.Read Article >
Magic Leap invited Rolling Stone to try out some demos, which include virtual characters that can react to eye contact, a floating virtual comic book, and a virtual live performance using volumetric camera capture. The piece seems to refute rumors that Magic Leap was having difficulty shrinking its technology to goggle size while keeping performance up, saying that “there was no stuttering or slowdowns, even when I walked around the performance, up close and far away.”
Dec 18, 2017
Last week, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz cryptically promised “fun and cool stuff” from the secretive augmented reality startup. Today, we learned what that is: an interactive music experience co-designed by the band Sigur Rós, which Magic Leap invited Pitchfork reporter Marc Hogan to try. Hogan’s resulting essay offers an interesting look at Magic Leap’s entertainment ambitions, as well as an evocative writeup of the experience. It is also deeply frustrating.Read Article >
Magic Leap tightly controls reporting with strict nondisclosure agreements, which means that Pitchfork can’t say anything about the company’s elusive hardware. A few details slip in: the setup recognizes hand gestures, and objects adapt to shapes in the environment. There’s a screenshot (seen above) of the experience, although it doesn’t necessarily reflect what people will see through a pair of glasses.
Oct 27, 2017
John Gaeta has broken new ground throughout his career, from his work as a visual effects supervisor on The Matrix to launching Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division ILMxLab. For his next chapter, he’s moving to the Florida-based augmented reality start-up Magic Leap.Read Article >
Gaeta tells The Verge that he has joined the company as senior vice president of creative strategy. “It will be a new chapter in a long story for me of pursuing frontiers that I think will one day create compelling experiences for people,” he says.
Oct 22, 2017
Magic Leap, an augmented reality company that has never shipped or even shown a product, has just gotten a $502 million investment on top of its nearly $1.4 billion in existing funding. The round is led by Singapore holding company Temasek, and includes major existing investors like Google, Alibaba, and J.P. Morgan Investment Management. It adds to the mystique around the secretive company, which has been on the verge of unveiling a pair of compact augmented reality glasses since at least 2015. Two years later, its main output is still flowery paeans to its own greatness.Read Article >
Investors have proven more than willing to throw money at overblown tech startups, like Theranos and Juicero. But Magic Leap still seems like a potentially viable company — just one that I doubt will deliver exactly what it’s promised.
Feb 2, 2016
After months of silence, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz has promised to complete the human experience with his company's yet-unseen augmented reality technology.Read Article >
Posted right after the company announced $793.5 million in new investments from Alibaba and several other companies, Abovitz's essay is an ode to the alleged world-changing power of Magic Leap, which he says will transcend the boundaries of a mere gadget. (It's variously compared to a vintage Fender Stratocaster, warm chocolate chip cookies, a great novel, and a kiss.) "Art is everywhere, and can be in everything," he writes. "It is where the feeling of the person (or people) creating the thing for you, is infused into their creation with their spirit, their warmth, and with a depth of feeling and intensity that somehow translates back to you."
Dec 9, 2015
Secretive Florida-based startup Magic Leap is in the process of expanding its war chest to the tune of $827 million in additional funding, according to documents filed in Delaware today and obtained by private market researcher VC Experts. If successful, Magic Leap's total funding would soar close to $1.4 billion after its initial cash injection of $542 million in a Google-led investment round last fall. Magic Leap has yet to show off any prototypes of its product to the public save to a select few reporters. The device is said to be a type of glasses that can project realistic virtual images in front of the wearer's eyes and intelligently blend the objects with the real world.Read Article >
The documents don't indicate who may be investing in Magic Leap this time around, although reports in October suggested Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba was close to putting $200 million into the company. Magic Leap's other investors, which include chipmaker Qualcomm and movie studio Legendary, paint the picture of a startup that wants to reshape both computing and entertainment in a way virtual reality may not be capable of. At the WSJD conference in October, Magic Leap showed off direct capture footage shot through its device, showing a floating representation of the Solar System.
Nov 24, 2015
The only thing to do with Magic Leap right now, really, is dig into its past — specifically, its strange evolution from a general entertainment studio to a tech startup building (as far as anyone knows) augmented reality glasses based on fiber optic technology. Sean Hollister has chronicled this process, including a long partnership with digital effects studio Weta Workshop and several patents covering sophisticated projection and tracking systems.Read Article >
Magic Leap's patent claims and illustrations — which have been covered extensively — have given us a better idea of how the company thinks its product might be used, but they shouldn't be confused for real plans. Recently, however, a reader pointed me toward something new: a long slideshow from a far younger Magic Leap, outlining its ambitious plans for remaking the worlds of computing and entertainment. Aside from the handful of eyewitness accounts, it's never been clear how much of Magic Leap's hype is warranted. This presentation adds more evidence that whatever the company's actual achievements, it's always aimed incredibly — almost science fictionally — high.
Mar 19, 2015
Google-backed augmented reality company Magic Leap's CEO, Rony Abovitz, was supposed to appear at TED this week to talk about his company's mysterious work. At the last minute, though, the company pulled out of this and another appearance for reasons unknown. Those reasons are still unknown, but Magic Leap just released a video that it planned to show at the talk. "This is a game we're playing around the office right now (no robots were harmed in the making of this video)," wrote Magic Leap PR head Andy Fouché. It's the first time the public has gotten much detail at all about an actual Magic Leap project.Read Article >
Jan 31, 2015
When Google-backed augmented reality company Magic Leap quietly applied for a patent, it did so with dozens of pages of futuristic (and slightly creepy) scenarios: a social media charm bracelet, a gargoyle bursting out of a box in a store, gamified cucumber chopping...Read Article >
Wait a second. That last one sounds familiar. Maybe that's because it's a line drawing of a shot from "Sight," a Black Mirror-esque short film about an augmented, sinister future. As it turns out, Magic Leap's patent art isn't so much its vision of the future as one created by various students and designers. Former Verge-r and current Gizmodo writer Sean Hollister was tipped off to a set of side-by-side comparisons that leave no doubt we're looking at copies.
Jan 17, 2015
It's been almost three months since Google lead a $542 million round of funding for the Magic Leap, an augmented reality project shrouded in mystery. Aside from vague claims about a "biomimetic Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal," the CEO of Legendary Pictures calling it "jaw-dropping," and Neal Stephenson becoming the project's "Chief Futurist," we still don't know much at all.Read Article >
That changed this week when a massive Magic Leap patent application appeared on the US Patent and Trademark Office's website. Patent filings are inherently broad in scope, especially for big companies like Google. (Apple is notorious for this.) Many of the ideas at play here may never make it to the final version of Magic Leap, but that doesn't mean what's inside isn't fun to dream about.
Dec 16, 2014
Science fiction author Neal Stephenson has become the "Chief Futurist" of Magic Leap, an augmented reality company that made news this year after Google led a $542 million round of funding for it. In a blog post, Stephenson said he'd been won over by the project after seeing Magic Leap's eye-fooling prototype technology, as well as its plans. "I saw something on that optical table I had never seen before — something that only Magic Leap, as far as I know, is capable of doing," he said. "And it was pretty cool. But what fascinated me wasn't what Magic Leap had done but rather what it was about to start doing. Magic Leap is mustering an arsenal of techniques — some tried and true, others unbelievably advanced — to produce a synthesized light field that falls upon the retina in the same way as light reflected from real objects in your environment."Read Article >
Oct 21, 2014
News broke this morning that Google, alongside a number of venture capital firms, led a $542 million investment in a mysterious startup named Magic Leap. The company is promising to "build a rocket ship for the mind" that will completely reinvent the way we experience the world. Founder Rony Abovitz calls his technology "cinematic reality" and says it goes way beyond what virtual or augmented reality have so far been able to accomplish.Read Article >
There are very few details about the technology or examples of it in action. There is, however, this completely surreal video of a TED Talk that Abovitz gave in Sarasota, Florida on December 12, 2012. Neon ape-men, giant candy bar totems, and a soundtrack from 2001 A Space Odyssey. It's a thrilling glimpse inside the madcap mind of the man Google believes is building the future of computing.
Google is leading a huge $542 million round of funding for the secretive startup Magic Leap, which is said to be working on augmented reality glasses that can create digital objects that appear to exist in the world around you. Though little is known about what Magic Leap is working on, Google is placing a big bet on it: in addition to the funding, Android and Chrome leader Sundar Pichai will join Magic Leap's board, as will Google's corporate development vice-president Don Harrison. The funding is also coming directly from Google itself — not from an investment arm like Google Ventures — all suggesting this is a strategic move to align the two companies and eventually partner when the tech is more mature down the road.Read Article >
Magic Leap's technology currently takes the shape of something like a pair of glasses, according to The Wall Street Journal. Rather than displaying images on the glasses or projecting them out into the world, Magic Leap's glasses reportedly project their image right onto their wearer's eyes — and apparently to some stunning effects.