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Magic Leap Might Replace Your Smartphone, CEO Says

Rony Abovitz takes to Reddit to tease the "everyday computing" potential of the secretive company's "techno-biology."

Magic Leap

Magic Leap, the secretive “cinematic reality” company that raised $542 million from Google, Qualcomm and others last fall, is gunning for your smartphone — and all the other screens in your life.

 Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz
Reddit / RonyAbovitzOfficial

That’s according to CEO Rony Abovitz, who popped in on Reddit today for an “ask me anything” Q&A. Although he skirted around some of the more techie questions, Abovitz made it clear the company is aiming high.

“In a world with Magic Leap, is there a need for physical screens? Laptops, smartphones or even smartwatches?” one Reddit user asked.

“No :-),” Abovitz replied.

The gist of the technology, according to a recent report by the MIT Technology Review, is mimicking the way natural light enters the eye to display virtual objects that “feel” real to the brain. Although he didn’t single out competitors like Facebook’s Oculus VR and Sony’s Project Morpheus by name, Abovitz indicated that their “stereoscopic” 3-D solutions — showing the brain two images via a screen close to the eyes — are unsafe.

“The brain is very neuroplastic — and there is no doubt that near-eye stereoscopic 3-D systems have the potential to cause neurologic change,” he said. “There is a history (for optics geeks) of issues that near-eye stereoscopic 3-D may cause — but this has always been very limited use and small populations (like the military).”

One of the reasons the mega round for Magic Leap last year raised eyebrows was one of the investors, Legendary Entertainment, which has produced films like “Godzilla” and “Interstellar.” Asked about non-entertainment applications for the company’s technology, Abovitz said it’s working on how to display content “for both app/game developers as well as tentpole major directors and visionaries.”

In response to another question, he cited the “everyday computing” potential of the technology.

“We believe that people may want to use this new form of computing as much, if not more than their mobile device,” Abovitz said.

He said Magic Leap hopes to get prototypes of its technology in developers’ hands this year. According to the MIT report, the company is aiming to eventually create a “chunky pair of sports sunglasses wired to a square pack that fits into your pocket,” but for the time being, its primary demo hardware is a much larger “scaffolding.”

One Reddit user went straight for the juicy question: Is Magic Leap in acquisition talks with companies like Facebook or Microsoft?

“We don’t kiss and tell ;),” Abovitz said.

This article originally appeared on

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