Magic Leap, the mysterious startup that raised $US542 million in October 2014 in a massive funding round led by Google, just filed a new patent that hints at what the company’s stealth technology could be used for.
All we really know for sure so far is that Magic Leap is creating some sort of augmented reality — which it calls “cinematic reality” — that the company believes will provide a more realistic 3D experience than anything else that’s out there today.
The new patent specifically describes a “planar waveguide apparatus with diffraction element(s) and system employing same.” Admittedly, the filing is pretty dense, but the most interesting, understandable parts are the diagrams that show what Magic Leap’s device could look like and ways it might be used.
Of course, patent filings should never be taken as truth. Companies will patent a bunch of ideas that they might not end up using, just in case.
Still, here are some of the interesting ideas in Magic Leap’s patent:
The drawing of Magic Leap’s “head worn component” looks like an intense version of Google Glass that works with a belt pack:
The user can see 3D-looking virtual objects and scenery downloaded from the cloud through the glasses, or they can send the real-life environment around them to another user, so the two feel like they’re together.
The system detects and maps a user’s location which is uploaded to the cloud and constantly adjusting with the users movements. That way, any virtual content could be directed to fit within and interact with the user’s environment:
That way, you’d be able to interact with things that seemed like they were really there:
There could be virtual content triggers in the real world. For example, if a mother and child are in the grocery store, browsing a certain cereal, a 3D “friendly monster” could appear and prompt the kid to start a game. The child can interact with the monster, bringing it to life with a gesture like a flick of the wrist.
You could also use the system to feel like you’re experiencing a new environment. For example, if someone is in the hospital, they could use Magic Leap’s technology to create a tranquil beach setting around them. The system could retrieve data about a beach from the cloud, map the room and the objects in it, and then use those mapped coordinates to make the virtual environment fit into the real one as seamlessly as possible.
The technology could also have use in educational settings or during complicated procedures like surgeries. In the illustration below, the surgeon can reference the pre-mapped 3D heart as he operates. Being able to reference the 3D figure in real time could help improve the accuracy of the doctor’s surgery:
You could also watch and interact with media in 3D.
Magic Leap may also integrate social or productivity apps into the experience, which could be accessed through different gestures:
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