Magic Leap is a mixed reality company that has been able to raise more than a billion dollars — without even having a product to show the public. They aren’t very forthcoming with what they’re working on, so media outlets grab onto any piece of available information to get a glimpse of the company’s past or current work to try to cobble together an idea of what their tech might look like and what it may do.
The company has released a new research paper, in conjunction with Berkeley Lab, that could be a window into what the company is developing. The researchers developed new materials, inspired by butterfly wings and peacock feathers, that could be an integral part of their headset.
According to Engadget, the new “metamaterial” takes light in from more angles than previous materials and can redirect it with minimal loss. The company describes the material as a “three-dimensional wave component that has very small structures in it, and they manage the flow of photons that ultimately create a digital lightfield signal.”
As secretive as the company is, they obviously aren’t going to come out and say whether they’re planning on using this material in their technology. Still, the material could have a profound impact on adjacent technologies like holograms and visual cloaking devices.
According to Berkeley Lab’s director of Nanofabrication, Stefano Cabrini, “We are now able to create silicon surfaces that can take in light from a large number of input angles and wavelengths with minimal loss of diffraction efficiency.” The new material was created by etching 20 to 120 nanometer “beams” into silicon using electron beam etching.
Hopefully, this brings Magic Leap one step closer to releasing a product. Experts believe that their technology has the potential to change nearly every industry across the globe. Mixed reality could even completely change the way we each live our daily lives.