Magic Leap, a startup backed by technology powerhouses including Google and Alibaba that has raised more than $1.4 billion, has hired more than 600 employees and is close to starting production of its first “mixed reality” products.
Speaking at the Fortune magazine technology conference in Aspen, Chief Executive Rony Abovitz said the company was debugging its production line in Florida and would launch the products soon. He declined to give a date.
Magic Leap has developed a technology that allows computer generated images to be fully integrated into a real-world landscape. It is akin to how the smash hit game Pokemon Go combines computer images and reality, though Magic Leap promises fully realistic, 3-D computer images.
“In Magic Leap, I would see Pokemon just like I see real people,” Abovitz said. “We love what they’re doing. It’s a gateway to a whole new future.”
The company is one of the most ambitious tech startups of recent years.
“We’re a full-stack tech company,” Abovitz said. “We do the hardware, the software, electronics, chip design and sensors. We want to deliver something that never existed before.”
The company is working with several outside developers and will open a developer laboratory in the San Francisco Bay Area, Abovitz said. Consumer applications will come first, he said, but the company is already working on business and medical uses for the product.
Magic Leap’s efforts come after privacy concerns forced Alphabet Inc to stop producing Google Glass, which overlays computer images onto the field of vision. Microsoft Corp is focusing on business applications for its HoloLens smartglasses launched earlier this year.
Facebook acquired Oculus and recently released the first commercial version of the Oculus virtual reality headset.
(Reporting by Jonathan Weber in Aspen; Editing by Richard Chang)