Magic Leap Teases Holotech

DANIA BEACH, FLA.—Magic Leap is previewing its version of holographic technology in the form of interactive, virtual 3D “screens” that appear and dissolve on command, and in this case, morph into virtual bubbles that turn into bubblegum pink jellyfish.

The company said its YouTube demo was, “Shot directly through Magic Leap technology on April 8, 2016 without use of special effects or compositing,“ and nothing more about the technology employed.

Magic Leap, described as the “world’s most secretive startup” by Wired, earned a place as one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2015 from MIT Technology Review. Senior Editor of Mobile Rachel Metz tried out the technology. She said the company did not reveal details about it, but rather, “it’s safe to say Magic Leap has a tiny projector that shines light onto a transparent lens, which deflects the light onto the retina. That pattern of light blends in so well with the light you’re receiving from the real world that to your visual cortex, artificial objects are nearly indistinguishable from actual objects.”

Metz also dug out the company’s Jan. 15, 2015, patent for a “planar waveguide apparatus with diffraction element(s) and system employing same,” with an illustration of eyewear that resembles Google Glass much more than the head-wrapping goggles most commonly employed for viewing virtual reality content.

What Magic Leap is showing isn’t actually virtual reality content, where the subject is immersed in an entirely different setting, but an augmented reality more in line with what the team of Microsoft researchers put together with “holoportation.” (See “Microsoft Builds a Holodeck,” March 29, 2016.)