PIF-backed US startup Magic Leap in talks with Aramco for innovation center

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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US-based augmented reality startup Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson has stated that the company is in talks with the world’s largest oil-exporting company Saudi Aramco to open a first-of-its-kind computing innovation center in the Kingdom.

During the occasion of the Future Investment Initiative forum held in Riyadh, the PIF-backed tech firm has announced the partnership with Aramco for expanding usage of its virtual reality headset technology in the oil industry.

Magic Leap I, which began producing virtual reality headsets for the video gaming industry in 2010, is now at the forefront of a technology that allows leaders in industries ranging from medicine to manufacturing to work on issues in a virtual visual environment, according to Ms. Johnson.

“Our first-generation product is a wearable Magic Leap I. It is essentially a head-mounted, augmented reality display. When you look through the device you still see your physical world but it enhances the environment with helpful digital content that we can place in your environment,” she said, including that users could interact together with the digital data and images on multiple virtual screens.

Peggy Johnson
Peggy Johnson
CEO – Magic Leap

“We are planning with Aramco eventually to jointly launch a dedicated special computing innovation center in Saudi Arabia and that will be the first of its kind in the world. So, it will allow us, together with Aramco and others in the Kingdom, to continue to innovate in the space and seek out new use cases for the platform and we are excited to be working with Aramco on that. A timetable to open the center, which would bring Aramco’s physical and virtual worlds together, was still under discussion and “in the planning stages. Magic Leap was “digitizing the physical space” for industries by putting an industry’s physical equipment and data into the augmented reality (AR) system, which could be meticulously examined, discussed, and enhanced.”

Earlier this year, Magic Leap has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Saudi Aramco to deploy its special transformation technologies throughout the company’s operations.

“We are engaged right now … so the things we have been exploring, such as 3-D meetings and remote assistance, are to help solidify Aramco’s position as the leader in the oil and gas industry. We are starting pilot programs right away and also looking at virtual training to facilitate that idea of remote collaboration and education,” she added.

Furthermore, Ms. Johnson has disclosed that the company is preparing to release a highly advanced system, Magic Leap II, at the end of the year that would be widely available in 2022.

Related: Saudi Aramco relies on technology to lower carbon emission: CEO