The AR Show: Karl Guttag On The Attack of the Clones and Magic Leap’s Wasted Opportunity (part1)

New Interview

The AR Show Podcast just published a podcast interview with me: Karl Guttag (KGOnTech) on the Attack of the Clones and Magic Leap’s Wasted Opportunity (Part 1). The interview is going to be broken into 3 parts (ok, I ramble a bit) as I understand it and Part One alone is 1 hour and 45 minutes. The show was recorded on January 28, 2021, so there may be some things that have happened in the nearly two months since the interview that are not covered.

Quoting from The AR Show’s description:

Like my first interview with Karl several years ago, this was a long and wide ranging conversation that I split into multiple parts. In this first part, we touch on cloning – both of microprocessors and AR devices [and the TMS9918, using in TI Home Computer, Colecovision, and the MSX computer and was super-set-cloned by Ricoh for Nintedo and Yamaha for Sega]. We also talk about why see-through AR is 10x harder than VR, the importance of field of view in AR vs VR, the poor visual quality of the Hololens 2, the challenges of diffractive waveguides and laser scanning displays, Magic Leap’s wasted opportunity, and more.

The AR Show Background

The AR Show (link and also available on Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher) is IMO the best podcasts on AR-related subjects (and one of the best interview podcasts, period). What makes the show so good is that the Host, Jason McDowall, does his homework and knows about not only the subject of AR but knows about the person he is interviewing.

I didn’t know who Jason was when he contacted me back in late 2017 and said he wanted to interview me. The first broadcast of the AR Show didn’t occur until about a month after he interviewed me. I was not sure if I should agree to the interview, but he sent me such a great list of topics that I figured the show was worth doing. Jason broke the first interview of me into three parts that were broadcast in March 2018:




I gave Jason links to several articles, and he added some more. These links can be helpful if you want to know more about the history.

Another link on early video game history involving the TMS9918 (the first devices with Sprites) is by Ted Spence, he does not get everything right based on how I remember it, but he does capture quite a bit of what happened.


Listening back to the interview, the interview covers a lot, and my comments are pretty frank. I think they are far and honest if, at times, a bit brutal. Sometimes I think I was channeling the spirit of Ricky Gervais at the 2020 Golden Globes.

Notes to self: Don’t use the word “crap” so much, as in “Hololens looks like crap.” Try not to laugh at your own comments so much. And try not to go off on tangents.

Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
Articles: 247


  1. Hi Karl, We have met a couple o times and hope this note finds you well.
    I gave up some sleep to listen to all 3 parts and liked how the host Jason M gives you plenty of time.

    You hold many patents and are very knowledgeable about IP regs and legislation. When you mentioned (in part 3) that Magic Leap’s patents seem functionally flawed and not likely to work (my paraphrasing, please forgive if imprecise), then, does this indicate that the PTO has become rather lame? Isn’t it their responsibility to prevent a “perpetual motion machine” from being patented?

    Would love to hear your thoughts at your convenience.

    • Thanks. I’m not sure which 3 parts you listen to. There is a 3 part one in March 2018 and then only one of the new interview that has gone up so far (I think it will be 3 parts too).

      It is a common misconception that the patent office is supposed to know/decide if the invention works. Their job is only to decide if the invention as claim as stated in the claims has been done before. They figure if the invention doesn’t work, then the inventor just wasted their time and money. A patent only gives you the right to prevent someone from using your invention without a license. They figure if they give you the “right” to prevent someone from doing something that won’t work, then nobody is harmed.

      A long time ago (over 100 years ago I think) they made a special provision for “perpetual motion” patents as for a while they were getting inundated with perpetual motion patents. Early on the patent office used to requires models, but they stop requiring them in 1880. I think they had to be working models, but how would you provide a working model of something extremely large? They did make an exception to the no-model rule for perpetual motion, but still a few have snuck in through the years.

  2. Dear Mr Guttag, in the Podcast, you repeatedly talk about your list of 20 or 23 problems of AR. I tried finding this list, but unfortunately, I didn’t. Could you please link it? I would be very interested in reading it.

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