The Leap of Faith to save the World

Fortune Magazine just interviewed MagicLeap and now published the video. If you have 24 minutes and want to know first-hand how Rony Abovitz (CEO) and Brian Wallace (CMO) tick, I`d say it´s worth to watch the interview with Fortune´s Michal Lev-Ram yourself.

So, what do they reveal? After the initial definition (“mixed reality lightfield”) we get confirmed that some kind of light-weight headset is needed (with Mark I), but that they would rather not call it “glasses” as it is just not comparable to a simple flat screen in front of your eyes. As mixed reality tends to sound hipper than AR these days, they differentiate their system from AR – with AR being the terminator view with a visual layer / HUD instead. (Though I always disagree with this definition – mixed reality being the full continuum including VR.)

They talk a bit about the team that wears their system all-day long – which is definitely marketing but could also support the thought that is really light-weight and you don´t get a sore neck or eyestrain from it. The visual quality is supposed to be as good as in their presented videos. They mention virtual people that get a different (non-realistic) look on purpose to distinguish them from real people. Users had trouble interacting with the real world when virtual objects were in the way (and would cut off the user´s hands for example). This could get really exiting (and the good scary). They chat a bit about the great new Pokémon Go (love Nintendo) release and how it could look like with MagicLeap. Well, it would look like the marketing video (I included just yesterday).

Currently they claim to have 600 people working on the system. The big factory with a fully equiped and production line is running. Or almost (right now “debugging production line”). So, a fuzzy “almost there” to the current status of the release. Regarding the timeframe of the roll-out and productive use in the streets (a question asked from investor Alibaba) they comment that adoption could go faster than anyone thinks. Brian says that within in three years (by 2020) 70% to 80% of the current audience would be wearing a device like the one from MagicLeap. That is really stunningly quick if it where to happen that way!

For the field of applications they give a broad range of possible use cases and fields. While gaming or entertainment could be one of the first for private users (refering e.g. to Lucasfilm/ILM) there are many more. In the end – their words – they do design a whole new contextual computing system and not one application (that´s why they have to spend so much investor money). Basically, all is possible. They imagine typical office applications and everyday stuff to support our daily life. But sectors like health care could be big as well. An app “look-by” lets you auto-scan the products and cloths around you to directly shop them through platforms like amazon Alibaba. In genereal it will yield in tools that raise our productivity, allow for better social interactions or are just fun. But clear words: consumer market first, later B2B – which I think is a bit surprising (will the final device be as cheap as my new high-end smartphone in 2020?).

Their vision (being asked if we soon have empty offices without laptops) is definitely to see all of the computing world via a HMD. With a classic computer or phone you always have screen edges where everything is cut off. With a HMD you have the whole space as your screen -it`s just unlimited. (Already people mimmicked virtual screens for their VR HMDs development as a fun in-between step.) They want to take us away from those dusty screens, go out into the natural world and live and work outside again (like humans used to) – but with the digital information integrated seamlessly.

Hopefully they will offer an open platform for it in the spirit of the old internet. They claim that everybody will be a creator. Your daughter transforms your house into a Unicorn world while you have set up a different version of your augmented physical space, etc. The individual user will be able to create his or her own worlds and objects and share them. Everybody could take part in changing the space we live in. “Human creativity could save the world!