Magic Leap, the startup which has raised $1.4 billion of investment from companies like Google and Alibaba, and has Lord Of The Rings Director Peter Jackson on its board, has stated that it is working on medical applications of its ‘Mixed Reality’ technology.
Mixed Reality enables computer generated objects to be placed into the real-world landscape. A current example of mixed reality in action is the incredibly popular game Pokemon Go, which has led to thousands of people searching for computer generated Pokemon characters that are hiding across the globe and only visible when viewing the world through the camera screen on your phone.
Magic Leap has been fairly secretive about their technology but Chief Executive Rony Abovitz has said:
“In Magic Leap, I would see Pokemon just like I see real people…We love what they’re doing. It’s a gateway to a whole new future.”
and when asked about their ambitions for the company:
“We’re a full-stack tech company,” Abovitz said. “We do the hardware, the software, electronics, chip design and sensors. We want to deliver something that never existed before.”
Magic Leap now has 600 employees and has hinted that they are close to releasing their first product. They have said that they will start with consumer applications but are also working on business and medical uses for the technology.
It is very exciting to think of the many applications that mixed reality could have for therapy. For example, when using exposure therapy with a patient suffering from a phobia, it could be an excellent tool for placing a computer generated version of the fear-inducing object into the real-world view of the patient. This may reduce the complexity of having to recreate a fully immersive virtual world for the patient to enter, and so reduce costs and increase availability of this type of therapy.