2013 Magic Leap “Confidential” Presentation

A Snapshot Into Magic Leap Circa July 2013

I was working through some Magic Leap history I have collected and  comparing it to the Magic Leap One shown in the Rolling Stone Article. In my collection, I had a 197 Page Magic Leap “Confidential” Investor-Like Presentation (why it is now public is explained toward the end of this article) from a 2013 U.S. Patent Application. So what we have here is a snapshot of sorts of what Magic Leap was doing and telling people (likely in private) on or before July of 2013. Rather than making everyone go through all 197 pages, most of which are not that interesting, I have tried to include the most relevant slides in this article, but you have the links above if you want to see more.

The slide on the left shows something that looks similar to the Magic Leap One. There is a headset, albeit much sleeker than the Magic Leap One, with two cables coming out the back of it and a separate computer and battery, which is also a much smaller than the Magic Leap One “Lightpack”. The next slide below shows the system with the “Magic Box Mobil” clipped outside the person.

At the time of this application, as shown in Fig 5C, Magic Leap appears to still have had high hopes for their “fiber scanning display.” (For my articles on why Fiber Scanning Display didn’t work out, click here).  Those cables coming out of the back of the headset contained an optical fiber for the hoped for fiber scanning display plus electrical signals and power. While the dual cables remain in the Magic Leap One, most likely today they are carrying electrical signals and power to a more conventional display (likely LCOS or DLP).

The slide below from the presentation shows that fiber scanning used to be a “Core Technology” to Magic Leap. I found no other display device mentioned in the 197 pages, so the need to switch to a a more practical technology appears to have happened after this time, but the slides are unnumbered and there is no way to know if there are other slides that Magic Leap had that were left out.

Another interesting insight in the slide at left is that Magic Leap talks about a “$500b+Mobile Computer Market” that was enable by the “Proprietary Ultralightweight projection” and “True Lightfield Technology. The “Ultralightweight projection did not work out and the slides don’t have information on the “Lightfield Technology.”  But if you go back to the application Figure 5C above (and other figures not show here), you will see that they are using “focus planes” and not “true lightfields” by the commonly accepted definition of lightfields (for articles I have written on Magic Leap’s and other’s “focus planes”, click here).

A set of 5 slides showed the concept for Dr. Gorrdbort’s Invaders by Weta. This concept was used in Magic Leap’s concept video back in March 2015.

In addition to Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders, there is a very Harry Potter like game with wands and round glasses.

Much of the rest of the presentation covers many variations of of the form factor of the glasses and the potential applications. For those that are interested, the links to the presentation are given towards the beginning of this post.

How I Found the “Confidential” Document – Why It Is Not Confidential Anymore

First, I am not a lawyer nor a patent agent, so this is just general information and should not be relied on for any legal purpose (consult your lawyer); the following is just information for people in protecting their own information, particularly in the new era of the America Invents Act.

I remembered that there was an old Magic Leap “investor type” presentation marked “confidential” that Reddit user “darkwater_” has posted a link to  over a year ago.  The link was dead but it had the patent application number in the link and I was then able to trace it through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) PAIR public records. So what might have previously been “confidential” is as public as it gets.

Magic Leap used this presentation as part of their provisional filing 61/845,907 in an “Appendix.” This means it becomes part of the record of the patent application. Magic Leap in subsequent patent filings relied on this application to establish their date of invention. Once the non-provisional patents became public, this provisional application and its appendix became public. I was able to downloaded both from the USPTO PAIR system. The files on the PAIR sight were very large and so I compressed them for faster downloading.

This disclosure of the previously “confidential” presentation, and so much of what Magic Leap has been doing via their patent activity, is  a direct result of the new “America Invents Act” or AIA. Like the naming of many government programs, this act largely has the exact opposite effect of what its name suggests. The AIA in a number of ways is a very anti-inventor/anti-patent act and this is just one example. Large parts of Magic Leap’s plans were reveled about 18-months after they filed their provisional, and as it turns out, more than 3 years before they could get to market. Under the old U.S. patent system, Magic Leap could have kept this type of information hidden from their competitors and the press until they were ready to go to market.

For more on the AIA and how it affects inventors in the U.S., I would suggest searching “AIA” on IPWatchDog. (disclosure, one of my brothers is a patent lawyer that occasionally writes articles for IPWatchdog)


Reminder: Meeting At CES 2018 – My Calendar Is Filling Up Quickly

As we are getting close to CES 2018, I wanted to remind those working in the field of AR/VR Displays and Automotive HUDs in particular, that I’m going to be at CES in Las Vegas again from Tuesday January 9th through Friday January 12th. In just 3.5 days since I first posted I was going to CES, I have had about 25% of my calendar filled.

If you would like to meet with me at CES, please email me at meetces18@kgontech.com. Please include you contact information, reason you or your company wants to meet, and the best dates, times.

I am meeting both for my blog use and for private/confidential business meetings as a consultant. I want to make clear, if you want to meet privately and don’t want the information on the blog, that is perfectly OK. I will also respect embargo’s of information that you want to keep private until a certain date.

Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
Articles: 244


    • It’s been a while that was published and since then I did some calculations on how fast the fiber needs to move/accelerate. It is actually pretty simple to figure out if you use any of the “coiled rope” calculators to figure out the path length path (there are many calculators for this problem online, for example http://www.giangrandi.ch/soft/spiral/spiral.shtml).

      If I work from Ivan Yeoh’s 2015 PhD dissertation (the best and most recent available information on FSD – seem my follow up article – https://www.kguttag.com/2016/12/01/magic-leap-fiber-scanning-display-follow-up/), had 180 spirals which would nominally be 360 pixels across at the equator of the image with a 50Hz frame rate. 50Hz with a zero-persistence display would flicker and as the pictures demonstrate, even with calibration, the image did not support a true 360 pixel resolution, but more like 130 pixels with some distortion particularly in the center of the image where the fiber is moving at its slowest and thus unstable.
      Ignoring totally reality and the lack of image quality for a moment just to make the calculation to scale this up to say 1920 by 1080 resolution (1080p). He says he had 380 pixels across in 1 mm. Or a ~00278 (or 2.78 micron) per loop. If we then scale this up to 1080 loops and 2160 pixels in a circle to give an inscribed 1920 x 1080 pixels.

      Using the coiled rope calculation, assuming a 0.00278 which gives a ~6mm diameter coil to give 1080 turns, this works out to a path length (of the tip) of about 10 meters. Now for a display you need a minimum of 60Hz and really 120Hz with a zero-persistence display to avoid noticeable flicker. And since there is one out and one back for each complete “scan” that hits the outer rim only once, this means you it must go 240 times a second. Thus the fiber must go 10 meters X 240/sec = 2,400 meters/sec. For reference, the speed of sound is “only” 343.2 meters per second so the fiber has to average about 7 times the speed of sound and have a peak velocity of at least 14 times the speed of sound!!!!!

      Now, you “only” must find an optical fiber that will move resonantly with the acceleration required, all contained in a vacuum so whatever it is won’t spontaneously combust due to air friction. And if you find this miraculous material, it must also follow an exact uniform path length particularly at the center as is passes through zero and reverses or else the pixels will not be in the right place and/or wiggle.
      What gets me is that with all the “very smart” people and those with all that money that reviewed the Magic Leap investment, this “little problem” was not immediately discovered with the fiber scanning display and then their whole credibility was shot. Worse yet, the myth is still being perpetuated that sometime in the not too distant future it will happen.

      You can play with my assumptions above and plug in different numbers, but remember the display still will look like crap in the center where a person’s vision is the best. It is so demonstrably impossible that is make you wonder about the people that both promoted it, try to sell it, and those that believed in it.

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