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How Magic Leap got Google to take notice

The massive tech firm invested in Rony Abovitz's augmented reality startup 2 years after a wacky TED talk.

Magic Leap screen shotMagic Leap screen shotA screenshot from the Magic Leap augmented reality demo reel. (Photo: Screenshot via MagicLeap/YouTube)

Rony Abovitz is a guy who thinks out of the box. The son of israeli immigrants to the U.S., he had an idea for a business, but he wanted to keep information about the business under wraps to everyone but potential investors. Then, he was invited to a TEDx conference in Sarasota, Fla., to do a presentation.

What would you do? In Abovitz's case, the co-creator of Magic Leap decided to create as wacky a presentation as any TED conference has ever seen, with two guys in colorful space creature suits worshiping a bar of "Space Fudge." To make it even more like "2001: A Space Odyssey," Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" played in the background. Then Abovitz came out in a space suit and said he's taking "a few awkward steps for me, a Magic Leap for mankind."

Then ... well, the only thing to do now is watch the video below, because it's hard to describe what happens next:

That was in December 2012. Google took notice and invested in the company in 2014. Now, Magic Leap has put out a demo reel of the augmented reality product that Engadget called "jaw-dropping." It shows a person at the office poking and swiping at icons on what looks like a virtual touchscreen, then shooting down virtual aliens. The glasses can be used for productivity apps as well as games. 

You can watch the video here, which includes some virtual alien shoot-em-up. But the TED talk may shake you up more; we're not sure.

The demo looks interesting, though one has to wonder how a person might look sitting in his or her cubicle poking, pinching, swiping and making finger guns at thin air, or how this might work as you're walking down the street. But it seems like they know what they're doing, considering Google invested in them and disbanded their Google Glass project.

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