Google Aims for 'Cinematic Reality' with Massive AR Investment

October 15, 2014
By: Tara Seals

It’s hard to dispute that wearables are about the buzziest gadgets in the tech field right now. And Google (News - Alert) is reportedly planning to throw its hat in with the space in a big way with an investment in Magic Leap, which describes itself as providing “cinematic reality” using 3D augmented reality (AR).

Sources told Recode that Google will be part of a $500 million funding round for the company—quite a step up from its previously announced $50 million cash infusion.

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz says that his company is working on “what we believe will be the most natural and human-friendly wearable computing interface in the world.”

Of course, Google has pioneered one of the most famous (or perhaps infamous) AR interfaces, Google Glass. The glasses-like headset can provide all kinds of hands-free information to the wearer—including, controversially, facial recognition capability—and for some, it’s become indispensable, with at least one user having to be treated for Internet addiction.

Glass is getting some competition though, including the Toshiba Glass smart glasses offering. And let’s not forget that Facebook (News - Alert) bought Oculus VR, maker of an immersive 3D headset, for $2 billion earlier this year.

Magic Leap is talking a big talk though about blowing existing approaches away with an immersive experience that it bills as the next iteration of computing in general—nevermind AR.

“Those are old terms — virtual reality, augmented reality. They have legacy behind them. They are associated with things that didn’t necessarily deliver on a promise or live up to expectations,” Abovitz told the South Florida Business Journal earlier this year. “We have the term ‘cinematic reality’ because we are disassociated with those things…When you see this, you will see that this is computing for the next 30 or 40 years. To go farther and deeper than we’re going, you would be changing what it means to be human.”