Patent filings shed light on Magic Leap's augmented reality technology

Magic Leap, a startup focused on augmented reality technology that raised $542 million in funding from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and other venture capital investors last week, is still something of a mystery. According to patent and trademark filings unearthed by MIT Technology Review, the company is developing a sophisticated display technology that can project accurate images onto users' eyes and produce virtual 3D objects that seem real. That stands in contrast to other virtual reality displays that trick users' brains into perceiving virtual objects as real by showing different 2D images to each eye.

The Magic Leap filings describe displays that can create the same kind of 3D patterns of light rays, known as "light fields," that human eyes use to observe real objects. The end result is that the technology lets a user's eyes focus on the depth of an artificial 3D object just as they would on an object in the real world.

The report said that a trademark filing from July describes Magic Leap's technology as "wearable computer hardware, namely, an optical display system incorporating a dynamic light-field display."

Further, the report added that one of Magic Leap's patents describes how such a device, called a WRAP, for "waveguide reflector array projector," would operate. According to the patent, the display would be composed of an array of many small curved mirrors, light would be delivered via optical fiber, and each mirror would reflect some of that light to create the light field for the point that a person was viewing. The array would also let the user see the real world at the same time. Article