Augmented Reality is Here

19 Oct 2015, Posted by William Newell in Technologies
Magic Leap

Many years ago I was blessed with participating in the launch of Philips CD-I. CD-I was the precursor of DVD and many set top boxes. Philips pioneered the use of full screen video playing from a disc. At the time, it was a quantum leap from VHS and Betamax technologies. Little did I know that the platform was the first step in what would become a once unimaginable technology revolution.

Recently I visited Magic Leap and this time, having worked on launching a platform in the past I quickly recognized that we are on the eve of another exciting revolution. For those of you who are not familiar with Magic Leap, most people would define it by its focus on augmented reality, but after visiting with their team I think they are much more than a technology-driven group. Yes, the area of technology they are working on is augmented reality, but the real focus of the company is on ideas, creativity, and connecting people.

Magic Leap has the two key ingredients for catapulting a new platform—a clear vision and the team to execute that vision. They are a strong team that has invested heavily in prototyping, paying close attention to the user experience, and the potential user interface. For those of us who are researching and working on how to implement new experiences in virtual reality (via Oculus rift) or in augmented reality, it is clear that UI is going to be very different from the common conventions we employ today in mobile and desktop development. The use of gestures and voice-activated commands are just the beginning of another chapter in the technology revolution. Without a clear understanding of how the UI will enable and be enabled by the technology, a new platform cannot reach its full potential.

Augmented reality opens us so many possibilities. You can enhance print media, bring a map to life to learn about places around you in a way that no 2D map can equal, explore a landmark in detail, learn music, make your videos come to life by breaking the fourth wall. The potential implications for innovation are multiple, from educational methodologies, to industrial applications, to games, and traveling. And in my view, augmented reality is far more exciting than virtual reality because it incorporates the real world we live in–the actual physical space we occupy, as opposed to a completely unrelated setting. You name it; augmented reality is going to change the way we do many things in our lives.

Magic Leap is not alone in the AR revolution. There are several technologies that are being created with the goal of enabling augmented reality for consumers. Microsoft and Daqri are two other companies that are investing their resources in doing it right. I will make sure to blog about these other companies and other advances in this field in the weeks ahead.

I have focused my post today on Magic Leap because I was very impressed with their vision and with the quality of the team they have put together to execute that vision. I expect to hear and see great things from them, and I look forward to the next opportunity to collaborate with them.

If you like to learn more about Magic Leap please visit their website at

If you are interested in developing products with augmented reality, or want to know how your print or video content can take advantage of these innovative technologies please come see me at Digital Hollywood at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey this coming Thursday, October 22 at 11:05 AM where I will be moderating a panel on Video Innovations, or drop me a line, or comment on this post.

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