Rony Abovitz is a tease of the highest order. Just as his stealth augmented reality startup Magic Leap has closed a funding round of another $794 million to its original half a billion dollars, its CEO has posted a somewhat crazy, and difficult to decipher, blog post.
On the Magic Leap blog, Abovitz names the new technology which he refers to as Mixed Reality Lightfield. Now, we know Magic Leap deals in augmented reality - sometimes known as mixed reality - and we've also heard rumours for a while that it is uses light fields to either capture and/or display the CG elements. Still, it's good to put an official name to what we've seen in a number of exciting demos.
With Google amongst big investors now including Alibaba and Warner Bros, lots of people are assuming we will see some kind of partnership evolve around a Glass-style platform using Magic Leap's AR tech. But Abovitz did give us - and his investors - some clues as to what his company has been doing with All That Money. Buying whirligigs from the sounds of things.
"Here at Magic Leap we are gearing up for our First," he wrote. "Let's not call it a product, although it is a product on many levels; but on some levels it needs to be more. We are setting up supply chain operations, manufacturing - many whirligigs and test machines and gizmos abound these days. Engineers move about our spaces with a sense of urgency. Intense debates about every form of science and art you can imagine float about. Plans have been made. Program and production managers track progress. Coders are coding."
A living river of light sculpture
Abovitz also hinted that we will not see a Magic Leap branded device: "In my mind what we are really doing will transcend what can be contained in a physical product, the thing with atoms and such. What we will bring to you, the part you will really love and find special, is the part without atoms."
He also referred back to previous comments that Magic Leap's Mixed Reality will cause less harm and be more in sync with our bodies than the new wave of VR headsets we are seeing from Oculus, HTC and Sony. So what is it and how will we access it? Here, Abovitz resorts to literary language, a new kind of tech industry hype, so we will have to wait a little longer for the firm details. But boy, it sounds awesome.
"We are building a wonderful, special thing – whose purpose is to gently, and in harmony with you (your physiology, your being), produce a Digital Lightfield™ - a living river of light sculpture, which can transmit to you the feelings of magic and experience and presence. We call this our Mixed Reality Lightfield™. It comes to life by following the rules of the eye and the brain, by being gentle, and by working with us, not against us. By following as closely as possible the rules of nature and biology, we can deliver what is truly next.
"We are creating the future computing platform for everyone, one of context, presence, intelligence, and experience."