Magic Leap, a seemingly unknown startup located in the wetlands of Florida, was founded in 2010 by Rony Abovitz. The company has raised a massive $1.4 billion and is estimated to be worth $4.5 billion – all without an official product launch.
The startup is creating a mixed reality headwear (MR) that smoothly lays synthetic images over what we actually see in front of us. When wearing the VR goggles, which are similar to regular eye glasses, you aren’t shut off from what is literally there. Rather it superimposes these three dimensional creatures and “living” things in the same room the user is in. It creates something that is much more believable than the VR headsets we are currently using – where everything is synthetic.
Originally, the company was focused on creating a graphic novel. Abovitz was in the process creating an imagined universe of flying whales and dragons (something still incorporated into his MR world) when the graphic novel idea morphed into mixed reality. After concentrating more so on computer vision and VR it caught the eye of companies like Google and other high end ventures. They quickly rose over $540 million in funding by 2014.
With their towering funding and quiet hype, Magic Leap only just released footage of their product in the fall of 2015. Much like the company, the footage was very covert and didn’t show the actual headwear, just a POV as if the viewer was already wearing the headwear.
Magic Leap has not pulled completely away from the pact though. Facebook (previously Oculus), Sony, Samsung, Google (Cardboard), and Microsoft are some of the top competitors that all (mostly) have products out and will likely produce more market ready MR/VR sets before Magic Leap. Magic Leap creates a more realistic and smooth transition into VR for the user though. This unique factor keeps them slightly ahead of the others as they quickly attempt to create a perfectly realistic “reality.”