Google had just launched its ill-fated Glass headset when Benjamin Dickinson started writing the script for "Creative Control," his film about a new augmented-reality device, in 2012. Amazon Studios, the e-commerce giant's content arm, bought the rights to the movie last fall.
The gadget in the film, called Augmenta, is a lot more futuristic than Glass. When Dickinson and his friend, Jake Lodwick, the cofounder of Vimeo, were inventing the product, they tried to create something way beyond the state of the market back then.
Although virtual reality headsets from Oculus and HTC will ship this year, augmented reality products are still in earlier stages. With virtual reality, you strap something on your face and feel like you're entering a different world. Augmented reality is where computer-generated images look like they're superimposed on the real world.
Four years after writing, Dickinson tells Business Insider that he's surprised by how close startups like Magic Leap and Meta are to coming to his vision.
In an advertisement for the fictional product, the narrator describes Augmenta as "a layer of magic in front of your eyes":
The add feels quite similar to the descriptions you see on Magic Leap's site today:
Dickinson says that he's screened the movie for Google and Meta employees, with positive responses, despite the film's rather dystopian take on technology's potential for emotional distortion and isolation.
He and costar Reggie Watts even got to try out Meta's demo product several weeks ago, and he said that it felt really similar to what he imagined with Augmenta. Meta's augmented-reality headset currently looks like a chunky visor, but it wants to put the technology into smaller forms.
"It's coming fast," Dickinson says. The Meta team "was saying that for what they have going on to be like in the movie — like a pair of glasses — it would be five years away. So, we'll see."
Magic Leap hasn't given public demos like Meta has, but the company has hinted that its product will be as subtle as Augmenta.