New Magic Leap AR Demo Show How You’ll Wake Up in the Future

Joe Carmichael

On Tuesday, augmented reality trailblazer Magic Leap released a new video demo of its very secretive product. If you can bring yourself to believe it — and to believe the fine print — the video is sure to blow your socks off.

The fine print: “Shot directly through Magic Leap technology on April 8, 2016. No special effects or compositing were used in the creation of this video (except for this text).” Assuming, against all reason, that that’s true, you’ll soon be getting accustomed to a new morning routine. Instead of rolling over, groggy, and poking mindlessly at your smartphone’s clunky screen, you’ll don a Magic Leap headset and gesticulate your way through a mixed reality tour of your messages, priorities, internet destinations, and even a jellyfish smack.

Or so Magic Leap believes: the video is optimistically called “A New Morning,” and the description proclaims: “Welcome to a new way to start your day.” If I get to wake up to what’s in this video, I’ll gladly proselytize.

The notable but possibly misleading element of the fine print is the word technology. Though not necessarily the case, it could be that the use of such an ambiguous term is meant to conceal the fact that the video was not shot through a Magic Leap headset — especially when you consider the difficulty involved in filming a presentable video through a pair of glasses.

Regardless, we’ll take the AR company at its word: if you buy this product, whenever it’s released, you’ll get what’s advertised.

To build such an AR interface, Magic Leap undoubtedly snagged some powerful minds to work there. Let’s just hope that those powerful minds are also virtuous — Magic Leap’s patent applications give us reason to be wary of its future tech.

And let’s also hope that it can get a product out to the general public before too long: all we’ve gotten are patents and videos — we’ve yet to see much that’s concrete.


Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio


Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup that launched way back in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. The company’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it. The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21st/22nd.

When asked by TechCrunch, Apple responded with its standard reply it gives as confirmation of acquistions, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

The company began showing signs that something was clearly amiss when it canceled its user conference in San Francisco earlier this month and later took down the company’s Twitter accounts. It also posted on its website a couple of days ago that it was ending purchase of products and subscriptions. Email tech support ends June 30th.

Our senior writer Josh Constine went to Metaio’s San Francisco office yesterday to investigate, and a nervous employee refused to speak with him and shut the door in his face.

Notice on Metaio website that it's no longer accepting purchases.

A source told TechCrunch that clients who use Metaio are “flipping out” after seeing the shut down message on the website and not hearing a word from the company about what’s going on…until now.

Metaio hadn’t taken traditional Silicon Valley venture capital, but had raised some money from Atlantic Bridge and Westcott.

The company is well established. Many impressive projects have been produced using its tools including this one of with Ferrari that gives a potential buyer an AR tour of the car (as though the actual car isn’t cool enough):

And this one for travelers in Berlin to see what the scene they are looking at would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was up. The program uses historical footage that you can see by pointing your smartphone or tablet at a particular place.

Metaio boasts a big community of developers with a 1000 customers and 150,000 users worldwide in 30 countries. All of them are wondering what’s up right now.


MINI Augmented Vision


Exclusive prototype of augmented reality eyewear underlines the innovative flair and creativity of the MINI brand.

Munich, Germany,  April 9, 2015.  MINI is revealing the shape of things to come at the Auto Shanghai show with a pioneering innovation. “MINI Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a MINI car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future,” explains Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project-manager MINI Augmented Vision, BMW Group research and technology. “Working with several Qualcomm companies, we have created an interlinked system and augmented reality eyewear with a characteristic MINI design that revolutionise the experience both in and outside the vehicle. This prototype with its customised, interactive functions succeeds in fusing augmented reality with the brand’s trademark sense of lifestyle.” Using see-through technology, the AR eyewear shows relevant information in the driver’s direct field of vision but without concealing other road users, thereby serving to increase safety and comfort while driving. The following functions will be projected into the field of view with MINI Augmented Vision:

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