TED Ahead: Augmented and Virtual Reality Takes Off


  • Steve Rosenbaum  CEO, Waywire Networks; author, ‘Curate This’; Speaker: on curation and storytelling

Today – when we think of video we think of television. And when we think of computers, we think of desktops, laptops, or maybe mobile devices. But there is coming a new technology that melds video and computing into a new kind of reality. Augmented, Virtual, and beyond. It’s what comes After Television.

Last year, Chris Milk gave a TED Talk about his journey into Virtual Reality and his dream to become Evil Knievel. His talk was captivating and for many in the room, the first time that the future of VR clicked. Now he’s back – a year later – with a new TED talk. This is rare and exciting. TED’s process of choosing speakers is rigorous, and second TED talks rare and just one year later almost unheard of. But the area that Milk is working in is red hot, and his company Vrse has been collaborating to bring VR projects to New York Times readers, along with a free edition of Google Cardboard.


Milk stretches virtual reality into a new canvas for storytelling. So what did he share with the TED programmers that convinced them that he had really new things to share? We’ll, that’s going to be one of the great questions of TED2016, which takes place Feb. 15 to 19 in Vancouver,. Will VR be the big new thing? It very well may be.

I expect amazing things from Milk, but the buzz that’s building for Meron Gribetz’s talk is almost deafening. Meron Gribetz is the founder and CEO of Meta. Meta is the first company to produce and sell augmented reality (AR) glasses with natural gestural hand recognition. Last year, the AR firm Magic Leap was slated to give a TED talk and pulled out. That never happens, leading critics to wonder if it hit a snag. But now the buzz is back, as Magic Leap has just raised another $793.5 million dollars – bringing their funding to 1.39 billion dollars.


But, back to Meta. Gribetz is leading an effort to produce and sell augmented reality (AR) glasses with natural gestural hand recognition. Gribetz’ first encounter with AR was during his service in an elite technological unit of the Intelligence Corps within the Israeli IDF.

One of the first to get to try on Meta, Tech explorer Robert Scoble explained that he’s still under NDA until Meta premiers at TED. But that didn’t stop him from in an emotional video that he thought Meta is the most important new product since the original Macintosh.

Said Scoble: “the biggest product demonstration, demo -the most interesting that I’ve ever had in my life. The most important product since the Apple II” said Scoble. If Magic Leap is even second to what I saw today, it’s so f*cking undervalued, compared to the 1.3 billion dollars in magic leap. I can’t even explain how undervalued it is. In the next five years, we’re going to be wearing glasses instead of using computer monitors. We’re going to be wearing glasses instead using mobile phones. And this is in the next five years. It’s coming. it’s coming more quickly than I expected. But the markets that are going to come in the next five to six years are going to be absolutely stunning. We’re talking about Augmented Reality Glasses, and I have just seen a ghost. The iPhone was an improvement over a product we had seen. This is a new product category. I’m emotional because I haven’t seen a product like this since the MacIntosh. That’s been 30 years. When you are in it and wear it, and walk around, and look at the world. Your head starts exploding. This changes computing fundamentally.”

So all eyes are on Meta and it’s first public demonstration of Augmented Reality.

“There is no other future of computing other than this technology, which can display information from the real world and control objects with your fingers at low latency and high dexterity,” Gribetz told CNET. “It’s the keyboard and mouse of the future.”


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