Mysterious AR technology gets cash

obe-wan-hologramThe makers of some mysterious AR tech have just scored some key investment.

Magic Leap scored $793.5 million from a group led by Alibaba. The company has kept their supposedly revolutionary AR tech under wraps to the public, but the indications are that if it works it could clean the clock of the likes of Oculus Rift.

The company is worth $4.5 billion, placing it among the most valuable startups in the world and as yet no-one knows what it makes.

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said that the new capital will advance the timeline of adoption for the company’s AR technology.

“Here at Magic Leap we are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together to enable amazing new experiences. This investment will accelerate bringing our new Mixed Reality Lightfield experience to everyone.”

What it seems to be talking about is an augmented reality headset with a proprietary light field display which mixes augmented elements into the real world in a more natural way than other display technologies.

Those who claim to have seen it say that it is impressive but not portable and might take a long time to reach the levels of miniaturization needed to fit it into an augmented reality headset.

The thought is that the extra $793.5 million the company picked up today might just be enough to indicate that they have sorted everything out and are close to manufacturing at a large scale.

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said the company had developed a photonics chip, sorted out the design, materials and designed the fab that will make it. It delivers the experience that’s the natural fit of how the eye-brain system works. It had to be built so that it accommodates what the eye-brain system is used to getting, which is not available in any off-the-shelf way.

Abovitz said that it had achieved mass miniaturization and stepped out of the days of computer simulations and one-off prototypes.

“We’re not on the risk side. We’re on the other side. It’s like talking about making an Intel chip versus actually making them,” he said.

The most concrete evidence that Magic Leap has revealed thus far is a short video released toward the end of last year which the company says was shot using its tech.