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Magic Leap’s ‘Mixed Reality’ Demo Sets the Stage for the Future of AR

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, like those offered by Facebook-owned Oculus, Sony, and HTC, have already started shipping or are set to start shipping to consumers this year. This is swell of a tidal wave tech companies are unleashing on the world, which will undoubtedly change the way we game, learn, entertain, and socialize in a profound and fundamental way. But there is another tsunami building strength, dubbed Augmented Reality (AR), and it will affect us just as much. One company you’ve probably never heard of is quietly gathering momentum for this second wave: It’s called Magic Leap, and it just released a new demo video of its much-anticipated hardware.

This is the good stuff. So good, in fact, Florida-based Magic Leap has accrued huge investments from tech behemoths like Google and Alibaba—a jaw-dropping $749 million in what was possibly the largest C-round ever—and personal involvement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai to legendary director Peter Jackson.

In the above video, which was made by Magic Leap to coincide with a recent feature article for WIRED, Magic Leap shows off a small taste of what it refers to as its “mixed reality” tech. The title of the clip, “A New Morning,” is possibly a nod to the way we’ll interact with the world from the moment we wake up in the not too distant future.

If this sounds extreme, keep in mind that the goal of AR producers—a group that includes other tech giants like Microsoft—is to replace all the other screens in our lives with some form of AR. Kevin Kelly, the author of the WIRED article, says that “this is a technology that can simultaneously upend desktop PCs, laptops, and phones” and that “This is what disruption on a vast scale looks like.”

Check out Magic Leap’s gaming demo below:

As for how the hardware actually works, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz says that his tech “creates a digital light-field signal that mimics how the world, the visual part of the world… really interfaces or talks to your brain” and that “your brain is like a graphics processor… and we talk to the GPU of the brain.” If this sounds vague, that’s probably because Magic Leap is, for now, keeping a tight lid on exactly how their tech works. Although if it makes you feel any better, Magic Leap’s Director of Systems Engineering has a bit of trouble explaining the tech and the experience it induces himself, simply giggling at the question, and responding that “it’s like dreaming with your eyes open.”

But for now, instead of dreaming with your eyes open, how about you talk with your mouths open (metaphorically), and let us know what you think of Magic Leap and this new “mixed reality” tech in the comments below!

Images: Magic Leap

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