Meta, an augmented reality glasses company born around the same time as Google Glass, is getting ready to show off the next-gen version of their AR headset. The company published a video to YouTube on Wednesday which features a handful of tech influencers lauding their “futuristic” experiences with demos of the yet-to-be-publicly-revealed device.
The video undoubtedly seeks to build on the excitement that AR-buffs got last week in hearing future tech soothsayer Robert Scoble passionately explain his experience with Meta’s latest demo, which offered him what he said was, “…the most interesting product demo that I’ve ever had in my life.”
All of this comes as Meta hints at upcoming product news by way of a countdown timer on the company’s site, boasting that “the revolution” will begin in just over 20 days (though a post on Scoble’s Facebook page suggests the device will be revealed when Meta’s CEO speaks at TED2016 next week).
As the overtly dramatic background track on this teaser plays, you get to hear folks like Reddit founder (and extremely notably, a Meta investor) Alexis Ohanian talk about his experience with the Meta AR glasses demo.
“This was the first time I’ve ever put something on and felt that I was living in that future that I had been promised for all these years,” Ohanian says.
While I will say that the addition of Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am’s badge of approval leaves me a little concerned about where this hype train is leading, it is kind of cool to see so many tech leaders/creatives discuss augmented reality in any capacity with this much gusto.
This has been an interesting time for product mysteries in the augmented reality space. After announcing a monster $793.5 million Series C, there’s been buzz circulating at what sort of crazy AR tech could possibly be powering Magic Leap’s $4.5 billion valuation.
Meta differs from Magic Leap in that people have actually had the chance to try out their (much older) devices and see prototypes/developer versions functioning. The device was born during the age of Google Glass but has always been more focused on content manipulation through hand-tracking rather than simple AR absorption.
Notably, the company also raised nearly $200,000 in a 2014 Kickstarter that provided developers with a somewhat clunky-looking early prototype. Meta also raised a $23 million Series A round last January led by Horizons Ventures, Tim Draper, BOE Optoelectronics, Garry Tan and, yep, Alexis Ohanian.
TechCrunch had the chance to try out their later Meta Pro model almost two years ago after CES 2014 where we were able to walk through a demo with Meta CEO/founder Meron Gribetz.
The company has clearly worked on further shrinking the physical footprint of its devices but it appears from the reactions of Scoble and others that it has also reached some breakthroughs in its core AR technologies, though with no new products publicly available to demo we may have to wait until the countdown timer runs out to know for sure.