Magic Leap Promises A Headset You Can Wear All Day

by Ian Hamilton • July 13th, 2016

Before launching Magic Leap’s first product, CEO Rony Abovitz wants developers and employees using the company’s headset all day for the same computing tasks you might use your phone or laptop to accomplish.

The comment from Abovitz came during a dense 23-minute talk posted by Fortune during which he said its product would be seen publicly “hopefully soonish”. The company now numbers more than 600 employees with nearly $800 million added to its accounts in February. Abovitz said they already have enormous production lines up and running at the factory Magic Leap moved into in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In case you are unfamiliar, Magic Leap is an incredibly well-funded startup backed by the likes of Google and Alibaba. The company is promising a new way of displaying digital objects that gives “you a neuroligically true visual perception.” In other words, Abovitz is saying your brain wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t when you have Magic Leap’s technology in front of your eyes.

“Before launch my goal is that…if you’re a Magic Leap staff member, and all of our developer friends, we’re pretty much wanting to get people into it all day long,” Abovitz said. “Our goal is all day, every day regular kind of computing where instead of a small screen you have the whole space of the world around you…’ll be like a Harry Potter world.”

In fact, Abovitz said they’ve thought about artificially brightening people who can only be seen through the “lightweight headset” so they are distinguishable from those actually in the same room.

This kind of big talk isn’t new for Magic Leap. The startup is raising ever-growing rounds of investment to develop its next-generation technology as virtual reality creeps toward the consumer market. Abovitz compared his company’s efforts to that of Apple, which spends enormous resources secretly developing both the hardware and software of an integrated computing platform.

“We’re building a full stack computing company. We do the hardware, the software, the electronics, the chip design, sensors,” said Abovitz. “We’re kind of like a baby Apple in the sense that..we want to deliver something that never existed before.”

One of the differences between Apple and Magic Leap, however, is that the company behind the iPhone now has a war chest unlike the world’s ever seen. Apple could fund serious top-to-bottom research and development for years even if  the iPhone business suddenly failed. Magic Leap doesn’t have a product on the market, so the company might need to keep going back to investors and getting larger injections of cash until it gets all of its pieces in place.

“It’s a little scary but we’re doing it,” Abovitz said.

All that said, maybe the most recent investment Magic Leap received is enough for Abovitz to deliver something people can try without signing a non-disclosure agreement? We’ll know “hopefully soonish.”

Check out the full interview below:

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