The well-funded startup once known for putting an elephant in the palm of your hand is shifting its focus to helping keep people healthy.
Before surgery, surgeons often mentally rehearse what they’re going to do: where they’ll make the initial incision and what comes after that. But what if they could physically simulate the surgery? Augmented reality company Magic Leap has just signed an exclusive deal with Brain Lab, which supplies visualization and training software to surgeons. Through the partnership, Magic Leap will be able to render brain scans into 3D objects, which surgeons can interact with through its signature goggles.
The deal is just the latest health project on Magic Leap’s slate. It also marks a return to a field that CEO Rony Abovitz knows best: surgery. His first company, Mako Surgical, built robots that predetermined bone cut specifications for knee and hip replacement surgeries and assisted in surgery. It was acquired by Stryker Corporation for $1.65 billion in 2013.
Health and wellness is one of five key areas that Magic Leap is targeting for its technology, along with mobility, entertainment, energy and water, and communications. “We’ve been talking about this concept of a digital operating room for a long time,” says Jennifer Esposito, the company’s VP of health and fitness. “Not just Magic Leap, but a lot of people.”
In the last few years, Magic Leap has gotten XRHealth, SyncThink, The Dan Marino Foundation, and Stanford Children’s Hospital to integrate with its spatial computing platform. Its eventual goal is to integrate with a variety of health tech companies, so it can coalesce a spectrum of health data and render a full picture of a patient’s health based on bodily factors as well as social determinants. Using its AR technology, it could provide doctors with a dashboard-like experience that shows a record of a patient’s physical health as well as related environmental factors—all overlaid on the real world.
Image Credit: Magic Leap