Technologies that will change the world: Mixed Reality

@Clara Rosales

Given how fast technology is evolving,  it seems challenging to mark out what are the next technologies that will change the world.

We have some clues on what are the fields within tech that will reshape the way we communicate, engage and interact with each other. Some of the hottest startups are obtaining  record amounts of investment in 2016 to work on virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

Knowing the attention big players are paying to virtual, augmented and mixed reality, this post aims to look at a different player that caught our attention. The work of this company is expected to make a shift regarding how we experiment our lives. The name of this South-Florida based company is Magic Leap, and their story is no less than exciting. ‘Know that magic is around the corner’ -their website proclaims.

The responsible for this secretive startup is Rony Abovitz, a tech entrepreneur with a background in biotech engineering. Probably his experience in the biotech industry is the key to the ‘product’ they are building as they are basing their work on achieving the collaboration of the human brain with technology.

rony-abovitz

Rony Abovitz (@Wired)

Instead of tricking the eye to see a virtual environment, as stereoscopic 3-D works, Magic Leap’ technology works with a tiny projector that shines light to the eyeball through transparent lens -the light merges so well with the visual cortex that it is hard to distinguish artificial objects from real ones. Rony Abovitz says “We’re spending half a billion dollars–plus to effectively make nothing happen to you, physiologically.” so this is definitely one of the main differences with similar technologies.

The company doesn’t have a beta prototype of the technology yet, and they are being very careful with the information that they are sharing. What we know so far is that it is hard to understand how this tech will actually work, but what seems clear is that it will become a relevant breakthrough in this industry. Among their investors we can find Google, the Warner Brothers and Alibaba.

We believe it might be tricky to differentiate virtual reality from augmented reality, so here is a small definition for each of them:

Virtual Reality (VR)

Is a technology that replicates real or imaginary environments and is generated by a computer. It also simulates the presence of the user allowing the interaction.

Augmented Reality (AR)

This implies looking at elements of the reality augmented or supplemented by computer-generated sound, video, graphics or GPS data. A good and recent example of the application of AR would be the app Pokemon Go!

Ok… so where does mixed reality stands?

Mixed Reality

This kind is the most interesting since you can see through the goggles -they are semi-transparent, and its made by the overlap of virtual elements on real elements.  It is the most complicated in terms of technical achievement. It uses lightfields to convince the human brain that the artificial elements the user is looking and interacting with are real. Based on the testimonies of the few people who have tried the Magic Leap’s Mixed Reality Lightfield™ – they are doing a great job.

The real change is that this type of technology forces the user to be present, whereas flat screens don’t. So it’s a matter of experiencing -rethink film, live music, gaming, education and a long etcetera.

technologies_that_will_change_the_world

It seems clear that virtual reality – the next evolution of the Internet- has some challenges to overcome and it is not yet available, but physical tethers and security problems are already being tackled by Magic Leap… know the magic is around the corner!