Magic Leap Augmented Reality Glasses is one of the biggest companies that you probably haven’t heard of and for good reason. It has been very secretive about its technologies and product. However, even though normal consumers have little idea just what this company is all about, they are pretty popular with big investors. The company was recently given a valuation of $8 Billion.
Big Investments from Big Companies
Magic Leap recently raised another $461 million in Series D funding. This was led by The Public Investment Fund by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment. The country invested $400 million while new investors accounted for the remaining amount according to the company. All in all, the company has acquired a total of $963 million with an earlier confirmed $502 million investment from Temasek last October. Since the company’s inception, it has been able to acquire more than $2 billion in investment and the amount doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
This isn’t anything new for the company as its initial investors are also some of the biggest names in the tech industry including Google and Alibaba, as well as J.P. Morgan Investment Management. With all of the money and backing the company has received, people are wondering why these big names are willing to invest in a company that hasn’t proven anything just yet.
Breakthrough of the Future?
CEO Rony Abovitz created quite a stir when he founded Magic Leap in 2014. The company claimed to be working on highly secretive technology relating to augmented reality.
Augmented reality was nothing more than a proof of concept, and companies were racing against one another to develop a robust, functional, and practical eyewear with augmented reality features. The company was very secretive with what it was working on and even the entire company itself is shrouded in mystery.
Later reports and announcements then confirmed that they the company is working on augmented reality eyewear that superimposes 3D images on real-life objects and can be manipulated by the user. It is an even more ambitious project compared to the then Google Glass and Microsoft Holo Lens.
Years later, the company had yet to make an actual product or even give out hints and sneak peeks on its progress, but investors kept on coming to fund the company’s ambitious project. Recently at the Games Developer Conference 2018, the company finally revealed a prototype of their hardware—the Magic Leap One. It also released a Software Developer Kit (SDK) to persuade developers to create games and applications for its new platform.
The company has announced plans to release the Magic Leap One “Creator Edition” to the public in 2018 but no definite date has been given. Whether or not the company can prove that they are worth all the money will be answered in the near future. However, if they do manage to pull off their ambitious goals, how we interface with technology will completely change for the better.
The Power of AR
AR is more powerful than 3D, for the simple reason that 3D overlays can be used in AR applications. Some AR applications include tools for shopping, medicine, exploration and navigation, and military uses. An AR headset can be used in the same manner that military airplanes use heads-up displays (HUD), which display data and graphics onto the cockpit windows.
With an AR visitor/navigation app, a tourist can walk the streets and see normally, while information about the shops can be seen through AR glasses. These pieces of information can include the name of the street and shop, WiFi, type of shop, special sales for the day, etc. Or, while shopping online for furniture, the potential buyer can use an AR app and superimpose the furniture onto his living room, kitchen, or any other room in the house or office.
The first few AR games have already appeared and it is expected that the first few mainstream AR apps outside of games will start popping up by 2020 or even earlier.