Maker of a Brain-Activity Measurement Headset Wins WSJDLive’s Startup Showcase

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Magic Leap is about to build ‘millions’ of its augmented reality devices.

Mindful Scientific, which makes a headset aimed at improving the diagnosis of concussions, won the startup showcase at WSJDLive, The Wall Street Journal’s global technology conference.Magic Leap has been relatively quiet about what it’s working on since it generated buzz last year with a $542 million investment from investors including Google and Legendary, but founder Rony Abovitz teased new details Tuesday when he showed off a short video of his Florida startup’s augmented reality technology.

But it’s getting closer to show us its version of mixed-reality computing. “We’re actually gearing up to build millions of things,” said Rony Abovitz, the company’s president and CEO, speaking at the WSJD conference in Laguna Beach, CA. Mindful Scientific says it sends 350 stimuli to the wearer through audio tones and spoken sentences in a five-minute span and then analyzes the results to detect whether the person has a concussion. The company is using part of an abandoned Motorola factory in south Florida and is now developing its manufacturing processes, he said. “We’re not ready to announce when we’re shipping, but it gives you a signal that we’re not far,” Abovitz said.

Little is known about Magic Leap’s device, but Abovitz described it as a small, self-contained computer that people will feel comfortable using in public. Ying Tam, chief executive and co-founder of Mindful Scientific, called the current approach “glorified questionnaires” aimed at detecting problems with balance or multitasking.

It is believed to involve retinal projection, and evolved out of surgical research. (Abovitz’s previous business involved medical devices.) And when it arrives, Magic Leap will likely compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens, which is now taking applications for its development kits. Magic Leap has a working software development kit and has invited several teams of developers to its Florida offices to begin making apps, and is regularly holding hackathons there, Abovitz said. Among the apps built for Magic Leap so far: a simple game that lets you throw a digital ball back and forth, and an app that projects a hand and a digital stove to teach you how to make macaroni and cheese. Each company made a three-minute pitch to a panel of judges including Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox FOX 0.54 % and News Corp NWSA -0.07 % ; Mark Cuban, an entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Theresia Gouw, co-founder and Managing Partner of Aspect Ventures; and music star will.i.am.

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