Last night, I was checking the oculus subreddit when a post about a device boothed next to Oculus that CES caught my eye. The post was a link to a video advertising a “product” called the 3DHead.
I say “product” because I am not entirely convinced this thing is real, and neither were the majority of the commenters; many of whom wondered if it was an “elaborate hoax.” Apart from looking like they took the helmet directly from an old Virtuality arcade machine, the video itself seems hilariously low budget, like a Tim and Eric episode. The product purports itself to be an “Oculus killer,” but many of the commenters felt that it was more likely that it was actually some sort of joke by the Oculus team themselves. I mean just watching the kid try and stumble around with that over-sized monstrosity on his head its hard to think this is a real product.
But watching the video over a couple times, a wild thought occurred to me, ‘this seems like something Rony Abovitz might do.’
Rony Abovitz is the CEO of the currently stealth Magic Leap, which has generated a lot of buzz having recently raised $542 million from an investment group headed up by Google. There has been a lot of buzz around Magic Leap if simply because they have yet to actually reveal anything to the public about their product, but keen researchers have found their patent filings, which suggest that the product will be some sort of AR HMD that makes use of what they have dubbed “dynamic digitized light field technology.” Based on the reactions of those who have seen it, whatever it is, it is amazing.
So why might this be them in disguise? For one, CES is the premier event for technology and currently Magic Leap is not on the roster, which seems odd to say the least. Obviously a large amount of attention will be on Oculus at the show, but a move like this – pulling off the cloak to reveal the wolf beneath, might help them steal some of Oculus’ thunder. Additionally, the company that produced the video – the Anakando Media Group – is based in the UK, where Magic Leap has already grown roots.
Last but not least, is the cost. A booth right next to Oculus is prime real estate and can run a company more than $150,000, that simply doesn’t seem like the kind of money a company like 3DHead would have to blow, but its certainly within range of a company that recently received a half billion in funding.
Furthermore, Rony Abovitz has been known to stray to the eccentric, as evidenced by his TED talk in which the only references to Magic Leap were in the title and a slight reference to it in the only spoken line of the talk. The rest just simply needs to be seen:
Right now, obviously, this is all just wildly speculative, but something just smells fishy about 3DHead.
So what do you think, is 3DHead a real company, or is this some sort of viral campaign?
UPDATE (11/25, 3:30pm): Thanks to the intrepid reporting of /u/crazy_goat, it appears we might have an answer for the 3DHead mystery, and it is just about as wild as any of the other hypotheses put out there (including this one). It appears that the domains behind both the media group and 3DHead are owned by eccentric billionaire Alki David – the same man who once offered Drake and Chris Brown a million dollars to have a boxing match. Alki has a long history of bizarre behavior and this appears to be another in a long list of shady ventures that he has engaged in. Oh well.