Stealthy Google-Backed Magic Leap Teases Augmented Reality Technology

Magic Leap Art - H 2014
Courtesy of Magic Leap, Inc.

Magic Leap Art - H 2014

"It's part 'Matrix,' part 'Harry Potter,' " explained CEO Rony Abovitz.

Magic Leap has been relatively quiet about what it's working on since it generated buzz last year with a $542 million investment from investors including Google and Legendary, but founder Rony Abovitz teased new details on Tuesday when he showed off a short video of his Florida startup's augmented reality technology.

The video featured a clip of a little blue and orange robot that's hovering under a desk at the Magic Leap offices. It waves at the viewer as it floats there. A second clip was a replica of the solar system floating above a desk as a woman sat behind it typing on her computer. 

The company is still quiet about what exactly Magic Leap will be, but Abovitz teased that it will be a small, self-contained computer that causes the brain to see an object — even if that object is not physically present. He explained that the video was shot using Magic Leap and did not feature any visual effects. "We can't on video actually give you the experience you'll have with Magic Leap," he said. "There's not a replacement for a direct experience, but it's pretty close."

Abovitz was speaking at the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, along with Magic Leap chief content officer Rio Caraeff, the former Vevo CEO who joined the company in July. "We're building essentially a computing platform where the real world is your screen," said Caraeff, noting that the company will start with entertainment and gaming content but plans to eventually expand into other markets including health care and productivity. "The possibilities are limitless." 

The company has developers working quietly behind the scenes on apps for the device. Among them is a simple ball game and an app that teaches the viewer how to make macaroni and cheese. Abovtiz teased: "We're testing crazy, tentpoleAvatar-type things."