Magic Leap Isn't As Magic As CEO Rony Abovitz Says

There's no magic in this young company's heart.


Previous PR blasts from Magic Leap about their augmented reality headset painted a picture of an almost finished product. With robots jumping out of walls, rayguns you could pick up firing energy blasts, and turrets placed on office floors, Magic Leap looked miles ahead of rival Microsoft's HoloLens. The problem is, all those robots and rayguns weren't real.

Magic Leap is one of technologies most secretive firms. Notorious for closed doors and NDA happy, they are also one of the most funded start-ups. Magic Leap has garnered $1.4 billion in funding from names like Google, Alibaba, and Andreessen Horowitz. Part of how they got this funding is by convincing they these corporate giants that they have cutting-edge Augmented Reality tech that can blend the virtual with the real world in a way no one can.

The secret weapon that Magic Leap was supposed to be using in their AR headset is Fiber Scanning Display technology. Fiber Scanning Displays shine a laser through a fiber-optic cable which moves back and forth rapidly and draws imagese out of light. So far though the Fiber Scanning Display tech has only been confirmed to have worked on a previous prototype of the AR headset that was about the size of a refrigerator.

According to info from The Information (via The Verge), Magic Leap has still had no success with their Fiber Scanning Displays, and it's hypothesized that they've moved to technology that is similar to Microsoft's HoloLens. The Information also reported that in an interview with Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz, he admitted that the AR demo, posted to the company's YouTube, that was used to promote the company and attract employees had been created by visual effects studio Weta Workshop. The video, titled "This is a game we're playing around the office right now," never ran on Magic Leap's AR glasses and was completely contrived.

Those that have tried Magic Leap's current AR prototypes say that the technology works, but it must be tethered to a computer using multiple cables. The images it displays are also said to be at times more jittery and less sharp than those presented by Microsoft's HoloLens prototype units. Abovitz has stated that Magic Leap's latest prototypes have shrunk to the size of a standard pair of glasses, but with how securely the company keeps its doors shut it will probably be some time before we know the actually status of Magic Leap's AR project.

Contributing Editor
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