Magic Leap

Magic Leap, Inc. is an American startup company that released a head-mounted virtual retinal display, called Magic Leap One,[4] which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by "projecting a digital light field into the user's eye",[5][6] involving technologies potentially suited to applications in augmented reality and computer vision. It is attempting to construct a light-field chip using silicon photonics.[7]

Magic Leap, Inc.
Magic Leap logo.png
Type of businessPrivate
HeadquartersPlantation, Florida
Founder(s)Rony Abovitz[1][2][3]
CEOPeggy Johnson
Key peopleRichard Taylor
Graeme Devine
John Donovan (AT&T)
Jen Fitzpatrick (Google)
Rio Caraeff (CCO)
URLwww.magicleap.com
Launched2010 (2010)
Current statusActive

Magic Leap was founded by Rony Abovitz in 2010[8] and has raised $2.6 billion from a list of investors including Google and Alibaba Group.[9] In December 2016, Forbes estimated that Magic Leap was worth $4.5 billion.[10] On July 11, 2018, AT&T invested in the company and became its exclusive partner. On August 8, 2018, the Magic Leap One was made available in the United States through AT&T.

On May 28, 2020, Rony Abovitz announced that Magic Leap had raised $350 million in new funding and that he would be stepping down as CEO.[11] On July 7, 2020 the company announced their new CEO would be former Microsoft executive, Peggy Johnson.[12][13]

HistoryEdit

 
Magic Leap One headset

2010–2014: Founding and secrecyEdit

Magic Leap was founded by Rony Abovitz in 2010.[8] According to past versions of its website, the startup evolved from a company named "Magic Leap Studios" which around 2010 was working on a graphic novel and a feature film series, and in 2011 became a corporation, releasing an augmented reality app at Comic-Con that year.[14] In October 2014, when the company was still operating in stealth mode (but already reported to be working on projects relating to augmented reality and computer vision), it raised more than $540 million of venture funding from Google,[15] Qualcomm, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, among other investors.[16][17]

A November 2014 analysis by Gizmodo, based on job listings, trademark registrations and patent applications from Magic Leap, concluded that the company appeared to be building a competitor to the Google Glass and Oculus Rift that would "blend computer-generated graphics with the real world".[14] It had also been compared to Microsoft HoloLens.[5]

Before Magic Leap, a head-mounted display using light field had been demonstrated by Nvidia in 2013, and the MIT Media Lab has also constructed a 3D display using "compressed light fields"; however, Magic Leap asserts that it achieves better resolution with a new proprietary technique that projects an image directly onto the user's retina.[8] According to a researcher who studied the company's patents, Magic Leap is likely to use stacked silicon waveguides.[7]

Richard Taylor of special effects company Weta Workshop is involved in Magic Leap alongside Abovitz.[14] Science fiction author Neal Stephenson joined the company in December 2014.[5] Graeme Devine is their Chief Creative Officer & Senior VP Games, Apps and Creative Experiences.[18]

2015–2018: Product teases and revealEdit

On March 19, 2015, Magic Leap released a demo video titled "Just another day in the office at Magic Leap". The video includes augmented reality gaming and productivity applications but it was unclear if the video was actual footage using their technology or a simulated experience.[19]

On October 20, 2015, Magic Leap released actual footage of their product. While still not showing any hardware, the footage claims that it was filmed through a Magic Leap device without the use of special effects or compositing.[20] The video suggests that virtual 3D objects can be occluded by real objects, which may be predefined geometry in the scene but led to speculation about 3D spatial mapping being used.[citation needed] It also shows virtual lights reflecting from a real table, which seem to be incorrectly placed in space, and therefore may suggest that the reflections are part of the virtual scene without interacting with the real world (similarly to "fake" shadows in early video games).[according to whom?] The video showcases only quite bright objects superimposed over dark areas of the real world. This suggests that the hardware can only add new light without blocking incoming light from the real world. This would allow it to render only fully transparent objects which emit or reflect light, and may not allow virtual objects to occlude real objects.[citation needed]

On December 9, 2015, Forbes reported on documents filed in the state of Delaware, indicating a Series C funding round of $827m. This funding round could bring the company's total funding to $1.4 billion, and its post-money valuation to $3.7 billion.[21] On February 2, 2016, Financial Times reported that Magic Leap further raised another funding round of close to $800m, valuing the startup at $4.5 billion.[22]

On February 11, 2016, Silicon Angle reported that Magic Leap had joined the Entertainment Software Association.[23]

On June 16, 2016, Magic Leap announced a partnership with Disney's Lucasfilm and its ILMxLAB R&D unit. The two companies would form a joint research lab at Lucasfilm's San Francisco campus.[24]

On December 20, 2017, Magic Leap unveiled their Magic Leap One, to be shipped the following year.[25]

In December 2017, UK technology news site The Register described Magic Leap as a vaporware company that "has received nearly $2bn in funding over four years, values itself at $6bn, and has yet to produce anything but fake technology".[26]

On March 7, 2018, Magic Leap raised $461 million in Series D funding led by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the country's sovereign wealth fund.[27]

In June 2018, the company's first headset, called the Magic Leap One, was showcased for the first time online, only showcasing the device visually but performing no demonstration of its functionality.[28][29]

On July 1, 2018, the device was finally demoed, confirming its use of NVIDIA TX2 hardware. The general reaction was of disappointment with what was shown, based on what had been promised up to that point.[30][31]

2018–present: Product launchEdit

On July 11, 2018, AT&T invested in the company, set to become its exclusive partner. Magic Leap One became the first product to be sold only in AT&T-owned stores across the United States. Also AT&T Communications' CEO John Donovan is set to become a board member of the company.[32][33]

On October 10, 2018 Magic Leap introduced Mica, a human-like AI assistant.[34]

In April 2019, it was reported that Magic Leap had raised an additional $280 million from NTT Docomo as part of a partnership announced by the two companies.[35]

In November 2019, it was reported that Magic Leap assigned all of its US patents to J.P. Morgan Chase in August 2019. The company also announced a significant financing round, which would become its series E when complete.[36]

On April 22, 2020, Magic Leap indicated a major company restructuring and that half of the company's staff would be laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[37][38] Despite the job cuts, the company raised $350 million in May 2020.[39]

In September 2020, The Information reported the valuation of the company was $6.4 billion in 2019 and by June 2020 the company was now being valued at $450 million, a drop of over 93 percent in six months.[40]

AcquisitionsEdit

On April 18, 2016, Magic Leap acquired Israeli cybersecurity company NorthBit.[41]

On February 18, 2017, Magic Leap acquired the 3D division of Swiss computer vision company Dacuda.[42]

In May 2019 Magic Leap acquired Belgian startup Mimesys, developing volumetric video conferencing software for the Magic Leap platform.[43]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Robertson, Adi (July 7, 2020). "Magic Leap names former Microsoft executive as CEO". The Verge. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  2. ^ Griffith, Erin; Weise, Karen (July 7, 2020). "Magic Leap Hires Top Microsoft Executive as C.E.O." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Magic Leap Hires Top Microsoft Executive as C.E.O." Miami Herald.
  4. ^ "Magic Leap: Founder of Secretive Start-Up Unveils Mixed-Reality Goggles". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Lapowsky, Issie (February 24, 2015). "Magic Leap CEO Teases 'Golden Tickets' for Its Augmented-Reality Device". Wired.
  6. ^ Huet, Ellen (February 24, 2015). "Magic Leap CEO: Augmented Reality Could Replace Smartphones". Forbes.com.
  7. ^ a b Bourzac, Katherine (June 11, 2015). "Can Magic Leap Do What It Claims with $592 Million?". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Markoff, John (July 14, 2014). "Real-Life Illness in a Virtual World". New York Times.
  9. ^ "Magic raises $ 1.4 billion". Yahoo Tech. Associated Press. May 27, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  10. ^ Ewalt, David M. "Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Startup Changing Computing Forever". Forbes. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Takahashi, Dean (May 28, 2020). "Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz is stepping down". venturebeat.com. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  12. ^ Shieber, Jonathan (July 7, 2020). "Magic Leap has a new chief executive and its former Microsoft exec Peggy Johnson". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft Business Development Chief Peggy Johnson becomes Magic Leap CEO". ZDNet. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Hollister, Sean (November 19, 2014). "How Magic Leap Is Secretly Creating a New Alternate Reality". Gizmodo.
  15. ^ The company, not its investment arm Google Ventures
  16. ^ David Lidsky (October 21, 2014). "So Badass You Can't Believe It". Fast Company.
  17. ^ David Gelles and Michael J. de la Merced (October 21, 2014). "Google Invests Heavily in Magic Leap's Effort to Blend Illusion and Reality". New York Times.
  18. ^ EmTech Digital, MIT Technology Review. "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015 - Magic Leap". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  19. ^ Etherington, Darrell. "Watch Magic Leap's Video Of Seamless Augmented Reality Office Game Play". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  20. ^ "Stunning Magic Leap demo is as real as augmented reality gets - CNET". CNET. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  21. ^ "Secretive Augmented Reality Startup Magic Leap Raising $827 Million". Forbes. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  22. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (February 2, 2016). "Magic Leap raises $800m from Alibaba, Warner Bros and Google". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "AR and VR firms Magic Leap and Virtuix join the Entertainment Software Association". SiliconANGLE. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Spangler, Todd (June 16, 2016). "Lucasfilm Developing 'Star Wars' Augmented-Reality Content Under Pact With Magic Leap (VIDEO)". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  25. ^ Crecente, Brian (December 20, 2017). "Magic Leap: Founder of Secretive Start-Up Unveils Mixed-Reality Goggles". Variety. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  26. ^ at 21:35, Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco December 20, 2017. "Magic Leap blows our mind with its incredible technology... that still doesn't f**king exist". www.theregister.co.uk.
  27. ^ "Magic Leap Raises $461 Million From Saudis". Bloomberg.com. March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  28. ^ Stein, Scott. "What we just learned about the Magic Leap One's hardware". CNET.
  29. ^ McCarthy, Kieren (June 6, 2018). "At last: Magic Leap reveals its revolutionary techno-goggles – but wait, there's a catch". www.theregister.co.uk.
  30. ^ "Magic Leap Finally Demoed Its Headset And It Is… Disappointing - Digg". digg.com. July 11, 2018.
  31. ^ Leswing, Kif. "Magic Leap CEO says critics can't understand the multibillion-dollar startup's technology without trying it: 'You could never experience TV on the radio'". Business Insider.
  32. ^ Kharpal, Arjun (July 11, 2018). "AT&T strikes partnership and invests in secretive Google-backed 'mixed reality' start-up Magic Leap". CNBC.
  33. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-11/at-t-joins-roster-of-magic-leap-investors-ahead-of-product-debut
  34. ^ "Magic Leap's Mica is a human-like AI in augmented reality". VentureBeat. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  35. ^ Swartz, Jon. "Magic Leap's Deal With NTT Docomo Is Another Step in the Virtual Reality Game". www.barrons.com. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  36. ^ "Virtual reality company Magic Leap announces fifth round of venture funding". www.miamiherald.com. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  37. ^ "Magic Leap Cuts Half of Jobs In Major Restructuring". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  38. ^ "Magic Leap halves headcount in struggle for survival". www.ft.com. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  39. ^ Heater, Brian (May 21, 2020). "Magic Leap has apparently raised another $350 million, in spite of itself". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  40. ^ Weinberg, Cory (September 2, 2020). "Biggest Startup Markdowns: Magic Leap, WeWork, Airbnb". The Information (company). Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  41. ^ "Magic Leap Acquires Israeli Cyber Security Company NorthBit". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  42. ^ "Magic Leap Acquiring Dacuda's 3D Scanning Assets". Tom's Hardware. February 19, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  43. ^ "Magic Leap buys Belgian startup building hologram teleconferencing software". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 19, 2019.

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