Wheelings & Dealings: Google Helps Magic Leap Secure $542 M for Lightweight Wearable Projector
Florida startup Magic Leap has seemingly appeared out of thin-air, with the announcement that it had closed $542 million in series B funding. The funding was led by Google (News - Alert) Inc., but also included other prominent investors who are already greatly familiar with the mobile tech market, including Qualcomm, Legendary Entertainment and KPCB. But what exactly does Magic Leap produce? The startup has remained relatively secretive about the exact nature of their products, but signs seem to indicate that it is a lightweight wearable solution that can project digital images directly into the physical world for unique entertainment experiences.
“If you think about what mobile computing is right now, it's portable it's great and I call it 'making your hand happy,' in that you can hold it and it's great,” says company CEO Rony Abovitz. According to him, “your hand is happy, but your eye is not.” Magic Leap hopes to change that by creating a visual experience that is almost indistinguishable from the world around you, with a visual output powered by easily portable mobile tech. While it is not clear if visuals are projected into a user's retina or displayed with some other technique that might make the projections visible to others, it will ultimately merge the physical and digital worlds for users.
While the initial uses for such technology that come to mind are in the entertainment field, such as fully-immersive movies or video games, other potential uses could soon arrive for several other industries. Architects and construction workers could, for example, use the technology to visualize how certain parts may look in a building before committing to the project, and medical professionals could use the technology to access detailed information about a patient's medical records.
Currently, Magic Leap is valued above $1 billion, and according to Abovitz this most recent funding is only a minority investment. Though the company has not set a release date for the product, the sheer money and attention it is gathering could create a truly unique solution that changes the way mobile technology is interacted with entirely.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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