Rony keeps feeding the hype machine! Wow! Woo! Yay! Hoopla! Panowie!
Rony Abovitz appeared on stage at a media conference alongside none other than NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to shovel yet more of his particular brand of exciting-sounding verbal diarrhea to eager attendees.
People have grown used to the concept of Magic Leap’s goggles where lifelike images are shown in front of your eyes, thanks to the fake videos the billion-dollar company paid a Hollywood special effects outfit to produce.
And so Rony took things up a notch, promising even more exciting experiences that there is scant evidence his company is capable of producing. There will be, he excitedly guffed, live holograph streaming within just two to five years.
Just imagine watching a live basketball match happening right in your living room. You’ll have to imagine because we’re not sure Magic Leap has any idea how to do it. But give them enough money and they’ll talk to you about it.
In fact, it is so far ahead, Rony rejected the term “augmented reality” to describe Magic Leap’s headset in preference to his own concept of “spatial computing.”
And he has lots of exciting words to wrap around that concept including a “component we call Lightwear” that “senses you.”
“You get, like, emotional state, you can get, like, information, bio-markers, about a person. You sense the world around you because if you don’t have context, if you having something floating in space, it doesn’t make sense,” he noted.
He went on: “And then we spent a mass amount of effort and capital building a digital light field signal and all of that is to really look at… Your eye and brain evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old… The physics of how light and the universe works with your biology. Our goal was like – that’s set – let’s not screw that up. And to not screw that up required going down a very difficult path.”
If that all reads like absolute weapons-grade piffle, it’s because it probably is. What is persuasive in person and supplied to your ears rarely works on the page. The pace at which this exciting techno-babble is spoken also assists its believability. But there is an upper limit, even for Rony, on how often this can be trotted out without an actual real product shipping. He’s not there yet:
“We’re trying to understand what is going on there: what’s the physics? What the neuro-technology? What’s the neuro-anatomy happening? How do we gently slipstream into that and not disrupt things? We want to talk to your neuro-cortex in a biologically friendly way.”
Which all sounds a long way from an actual product.
We were also treated to none other than legendary basketball player Shaquille O’Neal giving a glowing testimony about how fantastic the Magic Leap goggles really are. He tried them on (earlier, we didn’t see it.) The b-ball hero loved them.
Fortunately, no retired celebrity has ever endorsed a product that they don’t firmly believe in before, so we now know, thanks to Shaq, that despite years of missed deadlines that Magic Leap’s technology is real.
How real? Real enough that German media giant Axel Springer put out a press release this week saying it has invested an unspecified amount of money in the company. You don’t get any more real than investment money.