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Magic Leap Connects With the NBA and Turner

Magic Leap, the well-funded augmented reality/spacial computing startup, has formed a partnership with the NBA and Turner that, they promise, will usher in “the next generation of sports viewing and interactivity.”

Magic Leap’s first sports-focused partnership will center on the Magic Leap One, the startup’s augmented/mixed reality system, and a new NBA App that’s optimized for that platform to transform a flat, 2D experience into one that’s in 3D.

“This partnership will allow us to bring fans a completely new, intimate experience that has never been seen in sports,” Jeff Ruediger, managing director of Magic Leap Screens, explained in this blog post.

By way of example, NBA fans will be able to use that combo, in tandem with Magic Leap’s Screens system, to summon multiple, virtual screens into their field of view, he noted.

“When paired with Magic Leap’s Digital Lightfield technology [which enables digital objects to look lifelike when blended with the real world] and spatial computing, these screens can be shown at any size, and in any location combined with supplemental graphics that allow fans to enjoy their favorite stats, replays and commentary — all without missing the game action,” Ruediger said. “We’ve even used volumetric capture to bring a life-size Shaquille O’Neal presence right into your living room.”

The launch of the new app for Magic Leap’s platform will feature a curated list of archived NBA games and some highlights and clips of teams and players. The NBA, Turner and Magic Leap are also working to bring this experience to live games.

Magic Leap said the new NBA App for its platform is in development, but didn’t announce when it would become available.

The trio made the announcement at Recode’s Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. A video with O’Neal was also shown with the former NBA great and current analyst with Turner donning Magic Leap specs and explaining how he was able to watch multiple full-court games appear on either side of him in a mixed reality environment.

“It was the most amazing thing,” he said. “I think the NBA, once it gets a hold of this technology, and some of the players … they’re really going to want to integrate their material.”

O’Neal also talked up Magic Leap’s attempt to render him in the MR environment. “When I saw it, it made me feel like I had a twin brother.”

The partnership also comes almost two months after Magic Leap introduced a “Creator’s Edition” version of its platform.

That initial system is composed of Lightwear (the AR glasses/headset); the Lightpack (a device that works with the headset and powers the system’s spatial computing platform); and a controller with haptic feedback.