clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Magic Leap wants to let you drink coffee in an augmented-reality jungle

Turn your cup o' joe into a cinematic reality bonanza.

Magic Leap/Patent Application

Remember how Google Glass wearers were treated like pariahs for donning the specs in public? Just wait until you see what Magic Leap has in store.

The heavily funded and very secretive “mixed reality” startup has given us very little of its actual plans. So we’re left with tea leaves. The newest leaf — an updated patent application filed Thursday morning — shows us the technical ambitions of the mysterious Florida company, which aims to make the definitive platform for overlaying digital content in physical spaces.

There’s also a hilarious plan for making coffee-buying a virtual, interactive bonanza.

The primary portion of the patent deals with features that enable two or more people to share virtual and augmented content simultaneously. This is an important thing to master for gaming, but also for enterprise use cases (think headsets in the workplace), something Magic Leap is, sources say, thinking about.

In the patent, Magic Leap runs through a series of examples of multiple virtual and digital interfaces “blending” with physical environments, with multiple computing devices and users. Check this quaint illustration above, of a friendly bee avatar buzzing around a towering figure, that shows how “one user in an augmented reality experience visualizes the presence of another user in a virtual realty experience.”

Then it gets to my favorite part — how that works when ordering a cup of joe. From the patent:

The [virtual reality system] may be configured to utilize sensing and data gathering capabilities, locally and/or remotely, to provide display enhancements in augmented and/or virtual reality for the person, such as highlighted locations of doors in the coffee establishment or bubble windows of the pertinent coffee menu.


When the person receives the cup of coffee that he has ordered, or upon detection by the system of some other pertinent parameter, the system may be configured to display one or more time-based augmented or virtual reality images, video, and/or sound in the local environment with the display device, such as a Madagascar jungle scene from the walls and ceilings, with or without jungle sounds and other effects, either static or dynamic (emphasis mine).

That jungle scene could then switch off after a certain duration or when the coffee is done (by seeing when the cup is tipped upside-down) or just when the orderer walks out of the coffee shop. The future!

Images in the patent show a mountable headset with “transparent mirrors” that can bounce projected light into the wearer’s eyes. Other patents from Magic Leap focus on similar lighting tricks as well as potential contact lenses. In February, the startup raised around $827 million at a $3.7 billion valuation.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.