Story image

Weta Workshop: Bringing breakthrough 'mixed reality' tech to life

03 Feb 16

Wellington’s Weta Workshop is set to play a pivotal creative role in creating Magic Leap’s breakthrough technology, which is said will take the digital world to a whole new level.

Headquartered in Florida and with locations all over the US and in NZ, Magic Leap specialises in 'mixed reality' technology and is working on developing the next computing platform.

The company is amping up development with its Mixed Reality LightfieldTM technology, and has announced new funding and an expanded role for a key New Zealander.

Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap CEO, announced $793.5 million in new funding led by Alibaba Group with continued investment from Google, Qualcomm and more.

Magic Leap will leverage the strategic partnership with Alibaba to introduce its products to more than 400 million people on the company's platforms, Abovitz says.

“Here at Magic Leap we are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together to enable amazing new experiences.

“This investment will accelerate bringing our new Mixed Reality Lightfield experience to everyone,” Abovitz says.

The company also announced Sir Richard Taylor, co-founder of the Weta companies, CEO of Weta Workshop and one of Magic Leap’s founding directors, will serve as the company’s Arts Ambassador to China.

In this role he will focus primarily on building deep links between the Chinese creative community and Magic Leap.

Taylor has an extensive working relationship with China, having done business in the region for the past 17 years.

On the annoucement of the new role, Abovitz says, “With almost two decades of experience building creative ties with China, Richard brings a deep understanding and respect for Chinese culture and art which will help Magic Leap accelerate our relationship-building in the country.

“Richard embodies chivalry, creativity, a deep sense of honor and friendship. He truly is a knight, both in spirit and in letter.”

Taylor has been friends with Abovitz for years, and was involved with Magic Leap right from the get go.

In June 2009, Abovitz approached Taylor and his Weta Workshop team to help with a number of creative projects integral to the creation of Magic Leap. Then, in 2010, Abovitz asked Taylor to become a founding director on Magic Leap’s board.

Abovitz says, “In the very early days, Richard provided an incredibly warm and creative environment for me to incubate the vision of what became Magic Leap, and this continues today.”

While Magic Leap is yet to release specific details of it’s flagship product, videos and reports indicate it will focus on mixed reality and be used in education, medicine and science as well as for gaming and entertainment.

As well as providing creative input for the Magic Leap interface, the Weta Workshop Interactive Division is already well-advanced on a game for the Magic Leap hardware based around the world of Dr. Grordbort’s, the creation of Weta Workshop’s Greg Broadmore.

The game, named ‘Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders’, is an advanced Magic Leap project already in development at the Workshop and is being co-produced by Weta Workshop and Magic Leap.

Taylor says, “Magic Leap holds the keys to new worlds for storytellers and creatives to play in.

“These are not born of print or film or TV, but rather, they are images and experiences, entertainment, education and information laid into our own reality.

“Our design team has fully embraced the possibilities of this new frontier.”

“The unique possibilities of Magic Leap’s Mixed Reality Lightfield have already sparked incredible creative evolutions within our company.

“The ability to design and create these new experiences is not just the future for entertainment; it has the potential to be the future of everything,” he says.

Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
SingleSource scores R&D grant to explore digital identity over blockchain
Callaghan Innovation has awarded a $318,000 R&D grant to Auckland-based firm SingleSource, a company that applies risk scoring to digital identity.