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Is Magic Leap’s augmented reality dream fake or real?

One video is all it has taken for the augmented reality company Magic Leap to shot to international limelight. The video also ensured the start-up came to be valued at billions – $4.5 billion to be precise. No wonder this would have easily made for an exemplary piece of marketing ingenuity if not the video proved to be a fake.

So what is so special about the video? It is a shooting game where the player is shown shooting at robots that has the ability to interact with real life objects. Obviously, it is here that the augmented reality bit comes in the picture, which makes it unlike any other shooting game.

That’s not all as the video is also shown off as ‘Just another day in the office’, which means it is something they often do while in office. That also is an indication the company is pretty much ready with the technology that goes in the making of the game even though the reality is just the opposite.

Two ex- Magic Leap employees even revealed the video used to demonstrate the company’s vision was actually produced by a New Zealand-based special effects company named Weta Workshop. For reference, Weta Workshop has also been involved with such big-ticket projects such as the film, the Lord of the Rings, which should be reason enough to explain the popularity of the video as well.

Interestingly, the video that was first released in March, 2015 did show the Weta Workshop logo clearly. The videos that were released subsequently also did not mention those were shot using technology developed by Magic Leap. So there are plenty of details the company can use in its defence.

There also are reports of Magic Leap attempting to develop what they have shown in the video. Their efforts did bear fruits too though not in a form and size that they might have expected. Clearly, those turned out to be too big and cumbersome to be packed into a headset, let alone into AR compatible glasses.

For instance, the first prototype is described to be as large as a refrigerator, something that the Magic Leap team fondly describes as ‘the beast.’ What is quite evident is that the technology the company set out to develop is far from being ready and is not expected to reach the commercial space anytime soon either.

As such, while Magic Leap’s magical dreams seem to have met with the stark realities, what remains to be seen is how things unfold from now onwards; particularly when the start-up has already seen investments flowing in from companies of as high a stature as Google, Alibaba Group, Andreessen Horowitz and such.