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Magic Leap is partnering with the NBA to bring virtual basketball games to its goggles

Lightfield-display technology company Magic Leap is partnering with the NBA to make more content that people will want to watch as a digital experience on top of the real world – when said people are able to get their hands on Magic Leap’s elusive goggles.

In a video showed on stage at Recode’s Code Media conference earlier today, retired NBA star and current NBA analyst Shaq was seen wearing a pair of Magic Leap glasses and vouched for the product.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was also interviewed on stage as part of the announcement. As far as we know, Shaq isn’t an official spokesperson for the product – just someone who seems to really like the goggles – but the NBA is.

Florida-based Magic Leap was founded in 2010 and has raised a staggering $1.9 billion in funding to date, from companies like Alibaba, Google, and most recently, Axel Springer. The only problem is that relatively few people have seen the technology in action, and to say the company has been opaque about its tech is an understatement.

It has said it is working on lightfield technology that “generates digital light at different depths” to merge the digital world with the real world. Lightfield display tech is not new, and it’s something that other startup companies, like Avegant and Lytro, have been trying to commercialize, but Magic Leap has been notoriously secretive about how exactly it’s doing what it does. (In the past the company has even been criticized for putting out highly-produced, fake demo videos to show what the technology does, rather than showing the actual output from the goggles.)

But in December the company unveiled a “creator edition” of its augmented reality system, called Magic Leap One, and said it plans to ship the product sometime in 2018, along with its SDK.

In the video seen today at Code Media, Shaq appears to be wearing the same version of these googles, complete with the Lightpack that holds the guts of the system.


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