Google invests in mysterious augmented reality firm Magic Leap


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.

Elephant on palm

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.

"It was incredibly natural and almost jarring — you’re in the room, and there’s a dragon flying around, it’s jaw-dropping and I couldn’t get the smile off of my face," Thomas Tull, CEO of Legendary Pictures, tells the Journal.

Magic Leap also says that it may "positively transform the process of education."

Magic Leap brands its effect as "Cinematic Reality," which sounds a bit cooler but doesn't really mean anything just yet. "Those are old terms – virtual reality, augmented reality. They have legacy behind them," Abovitz told the South Florida Business Journal back in February, after closing an initial round of funding. "They are associated with things that didn’t necessarily deliver on a promise or live up to expectations. We have the term cinematic reality because we are disassociated with those things. … When you see this, you will see that this is computing for the next 30 or 40 years. To go farther and deeper than we’re going, you would be changing what it means to be human."

This is all something that Google is eager to view the results of. "We are looking forward to Magic Leap's next stage of growth, and to seeing how it will shape the future of visual computing," Pichai says in a statement. What exactly Google will do with augmented reality is still unknown, but, much like how Google has managed to control a great deal of mobile computing through Android, it's been looking ahead to ensure that it doesn't miss out on the next leap either. It declined to provide further comment on the investment.

Talking to TechCrunch, Abovitz says that Magic Leap should be launching a product for consumers "relatively soon." There's no stated target date for now, though, and it sounds like it still has some development to do.


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