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Here’s Why Google Invested Millions in a Quirky Augmented Reality Company

What will the future of mobile look like? Oculus headsets everywhere? Drone-smartphone hybrids? If Google has its way technology could head in another direction entirely, thanks to Magic Leap.

It’s been a few months since Google helped raise $542 million for the mysterious augmented reality startup. We still don’t really know what to expect from Magic Leap, but a recent patent awarded to the company and spotted by Wired sheds some light on what’s in store.

Here’s the short story: Magic Leap wants to shoot a tiny projector straight into your retina, which would fill the entire room with digital images. The long story is a bit more complicated, but even more interesting. The projector itself is built into a small headset and powered by your smartphone or other wearable technology. You’ll also need totems, physical objects used to navigate through Magic Leap’s augmented reality.

There are a ton of different applications, some more exciting than others. Magic Leap notes that a virtual TV projected into your retina could be calibrated to fill the entire wall of whatever room you’re sitting in. Controlling the TV would also be as simple as swiping through a menu of options hovering right in front of your face or displayed on a nearby coffee table. In theory there are no limits to Magic Leap, anything can instantly become a screen or a remote.

The company also has some ideas for different types of totems. One example looks like regular six-sided dice, with each side showing the icon of a different app. Look at the Facebook logo and the social network would immediately boot up. Another drawing imagines a necklace of charms, each one tied to a specific app.

Another area of focus for Magic Leap is shopping. The technology could be used to display a dynamic grocery list in front of you as you walk through the store. A digitized version of your favorite celebrity chef could help you craft recipes, and Tony the Tiger could greet your kids in the cereal aisle.

Like we said, the possibilities are endless, though before any of this can happen Magic Leap needs to brings its patent from concept to reality. But with Google’s money and some truly unique ideas this vision of the future might not be so far away.

Patentdocs Wired

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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