TECH

Google Makes Huge Bet On 'Magic Leap' Virtual Reality Tech

22/10/2014 11:24 BST | Updated 22/10/2014 11:59 BST

Google has made a huge new investment in some kind of giant, floating whale generator.

Or maybe it's just a new type of virtual/augmented reality.

The search giant has funded the secretive AR startup Magic Leap with more than $542 million, valuing the startup at more than $2 billion.

And oddly enough, no one seems to know what it actually does.

Presumably CEO Rony Abovitz does - but he's not saying. He's hinted at a lightweight wearable VR/AR 'solution' that can apply lifelike graphics in real time over the actual world. Other investors have told Fast Company it is "a marker of the future", adding that the money is being used to fast-track the tech's path to a consumer release.

Here's a video which helps explain the idea:

One of the keys to the new tech, according to Abovitz in an interview with Techcrunch, is something called "dynamic digitized lightfield signal" processing. This can take 3D objects and make them look truly real when superimposed on other objects, applying actual lighting conditions on them, in real time.

We'll have to wait and see what actually comes of this, but if Google is betting half a billion dollars on it, you can be sure it's going to be worth checking out when it's here.