What does it take to develop a product with the potential to change the world? Just ask Magic Leap Inc., an innovative, fast-rising start-up whose augmented reality headset seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds. In this episode, host Sean Becker and V&E IP partner Devika Kornbacher are joined by Purav Jesrani, a V&E alum and Senior Licensing Counsel of Magic Leap. Listen as Purav demonstrates how Magic Leap lets people – including Sean and Devika – interact with the world in ways never before possible.


Sean Becker: Welcome back to Empowering Exceptional, V&E plus’s podcast series focusing on fascinating people doing incredible things in their fields. I’m your host, and also the head of V&E’s Employment, Labor and OSHA practice, Sean Becker. Today, we’re joined by Purav Jesrani, senior licensing counsel at Magic Leap, an innovative fast-rising startup that’s working to define the future of entertainment, healthcare, retailing, sports, and more. Magic Leap is a leading pioneer in the field of spatial computing. It’s developed a new mixed reality computing platform that lets people interact with the world in ways never before possible. Last year, Magic Leap introduced the Magic Leap One headset, that’s a wearable, spatial computer that seamlessly blends the digital and the physical worlds. Some of the biggest names in telecom, technology, entertainment, and other sectors are betting on Magic Leap’s future. Since its launch in 2011, the company has raised $2.6 billion. Some of Magic Leap’s partners are AT&T, Google, the NBA, and Lucasfilm. That’s a pretty impressive line up. Purav joined Magic Leap three years ago, but before that, he was a technology and intellectual property attorney at Vinson & Elkins. Welcome back.
Purav Jesrani: Thanks Sean, it’s a pleasure to be back at V&E.
Sean Becker: Also, joining us today is Devika Kornbacher. Devika is a V&E technology partner. Not only that, she’s a true technophile, she really understands this stuff. And Devika, you worked with Purav when he was an associate in V&E’s Houston office.
Devika Kornbacher: Yes. Thank you, Sean. It’s great to see you Purav. So, Purav, for those who may not have heard of Magic Leap yet, but absolutely will, can you tell us more about the company?
Purav Jesrani: It’s great to see you again Devika. Magic Leap at its core was founded with a mission to harmonize people and technology to create a better, more unified world. Technology has the power to connect, and also to disconnect us. As computing platforms have evolved over the years from mainframes, to PCs, to laptop computers, to mobile devices, tablets, people have become more drawn inward to their devices, and have started staring more into a tiny, little box. So, the goal for Magic Leap is to create a next generation computing platform, that allows us to be more attentive to each other, and also to be more attentive to the environment around us. So, I know there’s a few terms that are mentioned here, and it can start to get confusing. Virtual reality is one, augmented reality, spatial computing. What does this all really mean? Virtual reality is the technology that allows digital environments to be placed in your view, but shuts out the remainder of the physical world. Augmented reality is digital content that’s overlaid on top of your physical world. A good example of this would be, ARKit on the iPhone. Spatial computing puts a layer of digital content into your physical world, but it also interacts with your physical world. By using the Magic Leap spatial computing platform, you can put a personal assistant, or a character like a dragon into your room. And that dragon isn’t just in your room, it recognizes that walls are there, that the staircase is there. It can go up and down. This is technology that truly meshes with your environment, so it feels more human. And it does this using computer vision and AI to provide that seamless integration.
Devika Kornbacher: That’s really fascinating Purav. So, how does this work, this spatial computing, how does it fool our brains into seeing the three-dimensional image, or like the dragon going upstairs, or those types of things?
Purav Jesrani: So, Magic Leap is actually one of the pioneers of light-field photonics, and that’s the underlying optics that drives this- the three-dimensional imagery and spatial computing in our device. Magic Leap uses light-field photonics to generate digital light at different lengths. These lights mixed with the natural light blend together to produce life-like digital objects that interact with the real world. This advanced technology allows our brain to naturally process digital objects the same way that we do with real-world objects, and it makes it more comfortable to use for longer periods of time. Magic Leap’s technology is an improvement over the 3D stereoscopic technology that’s available today. So, if you watch a 3D movie, if you put on VR, that’s essentially flat 3-D that is essentially tricking the brain into seeing 3D images. If you watch that for a- an extended period of time, it can often lead to feeling uncomfortable, you could feel discomforts like headaches, or dizziness, and that’s what our technology is trying to avoid.
Sean Becker: So if I’m the user, and I’ve got a Magic Leap headset on, walk me through the experience, what does it feel like?
Purav Jesrani: So, I can give you a good example of the first time I ever tried the technology when I first visited the headquarters down in Florida back in 2015. This was a prototype that wasn’t yet portable. It was tethered to a computer, and I was asked to, while wearing the lenses over my eyes, I was asked to stick out my hand, and there was this robotic looking bee that started approaching my hand. And this robotic bee came and landed on my outstretched fingers. And when you look at it up close, and you see it, it feels natural. It feels real. You’re not just seeing it, but the legs of the bee are sitting on your finger, and eliciting a response from your finger, from your nerves in your finger, and it tickles your finger such that you actually think something is there. And that absolutely blew me away.
Sean Becker: You got stung by Magic Leap at the interview.
Purav Jesrani: It all started with that bee, and you know, that’s why we’ve had so many strategic partners that have invested in us, and believed in us, and that’s because this is something that is unlike what any other company has done.
Devika Kornbacher: So that bee experience, it sounds pretty cool. But since you’ve been at Magic Leap, what has been the coolest experience that you’ve had?
Purav Jesrani: You know, I would say one of the launch titles that Magic Leap One came out with, it’s a game called Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders. It is fascinating because you can s- really see the true potential of this technology. It’s fully immersive. You can be in your own living room, and then all of a sudden have a robot invasion that you’re fighting from the comfort of your own living room. It’s so immersive that you have robots coming out of your wall, there’s portals opening up in your wall, and there’s robots coming out. There are robots hiding behind your couch, an- and coming out that you’re fending off with your ray gun.
Devika Kornbacher: So Purav, you’ve talked a lot about this headset, um, and I know that Sean, we were talking before, is eager to get his hands on one of these. Do you have one with you today?
Purav Jesrani: I absolutely do.
Sean Becker: Let’s go.
Devika Kornbacher: Oh, okay.
Purav Jesrani: All right, so let’s just get that over your head right there. Just going to want to angle it up in the back there a little bit. It might take a second to power on, but.
Sean Becker: We are initializing- initializing the head pose, here we go.
Devika Kornbacher: Don’t move Sean.
Sean Becker: Let me get ready to buckle up here. Oh boy, this might not lend itself so well to audio, but visually, this is pretty cool. A 3D, sort of a, almost like a moon scape here as I watch some, now an underwater scene. This is accompanied by music, because I see some balloons floating. Sea turtles gently coming at me. I swear I’ve never had an experience like this before. Yeah, this is truly 3D.
Devika Kornbacher: So for those who are listening are like, “Okay, I have to have this.” Can an everyday consumer buy one of these?
Purav Jesrani: Absolutely. It’s available on our website, www.magicleap.com.
Purav Jesrani: That’s a great question. Magic Leap has actually developed a full technology stack. T-to do what we do well, we realized it wasn’t just the device that goes on your head. It was the entire technology stack that supports that device that we had to build. That really means from the Magic Leap hardware in the components behind it; the sound field audio that goes into the headset, the spatial audio. So, if there is something flying – a helicopter flying around you, it really sounds like there’s something in 3D flying around you. The entire optics engine that goes into the headset, there’s the light pack, which is the computer portion of it. How to minimize that down to something that is very small, and wearable, and comfortable to take with you. The control that you can use to navigate. Behind all of the hardware, there’s of course the software that was all custom developed in-house, and that’s what we call our Lumin operating system. There’s an entire backend cloud ecosystem that supports everything here. How do you get developers to build on your platform? You have to release developer tools. We have partnerships with Unity and Unreal, some of the largest gaming engines and development engines to help support some of these tools. We also have our own application store. We enable developers to build experiences for our device, and then also, uh, publish them, and profit from them. We have some of the greatest artists, and some of the greatest creative minds, and the greatest producers building very, very compelling experiences and applications that have won tons of awards.
Sean Becker: Sounds like there’s some pretty extensive technology there that could be applied beyond simulating alien invaders. What are some of the other broader applications of Magic Leap’s technology?
Purav Jesrani: The opportunities are truly limitless. Healthcare is a huge one. You think of what the device could do, an actual operating room. Typically, in the operating suite, you’ll see monitors everywhere. Every second that the doctor looks away from the patient is additional downtime. I-in an operating room, the minimum amount of time that a doctor can spend with a patient cut open is ideal. If a doctor doesn’t have to draw his eyes away from the patient to get this information, that could change surgical procedures as we know it. Think of the applications in the retail space. If someone wants to try on a new purse, being able to see it with, you know, color accurate representation on a table in front of you is a lot better than your traditional browsing to try to identify something that you connect with.
Sean Becker: I’m a sports fan, I see that Magic Leap, it’s got the spatial technology that could change the experience for me watching an NBA game. So, how is the experience going to be different if I’m wearing, a Magic Leap headset?
Purav Jesrani: And the NBA is actually one of our exciting partners, and for example, on the device, you can have multiple screens up, and simultaneously have the data from the game, player data, game data, team data. All of that right next to what you’re watching on the multiple screens. But what if you could take it one step beyond that, watch the games on a screen surrounded by you, but then take the coffee table in front of you, and turn it into a table top experience. The game is going on, but at the game, the- the cameras are volumetrically capturing the players, and on the table in front of you, you see a 3D representation of that game, and the players running up and down the court, like you were sitting court side. Obviously, it’s digital, but it’s a pretty accurate representation of it. And you can really get a different feel of the game than you would ever be able to do, uh, by just watching it on a two-dimensional screen. With volumetric capture, you could really look at the game from any angle you want within your own house, so. A lot of very cool applications.
Sean Becker: That’s pretty exciting.
Devika Kornbacher: I mean, it sounds like there’s a lot going on at Magic Leap. But can you take us back to the beginning, like how it all started, and tell us more about the founder of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz.
Purav Jesrani: Rony is, he’s a visionary. He started Magic Leap in 2011, it was right after he had sold his surgical robotics company, MAKO, to a larger orthopedics and medical device company called Stryker. He started this company with kind of a story board, more of a hobby. His ideas here have always been, even from the proof of concept stage, so forward looking. He’s able to provide guidance, what he refers to as north stars for our company, that look 10 or 20 years out. What began in 2011 with Rony as a startup in his garage with just a few of his friends, and employees, has now grown to a company with more than 1,800 employees with offices literally around the world.
Devika Kornbacher: Wow, that sounds like a huge Magic Leap universe that’s out there. So Purav, what about you? Where do you fit in this universe in your work at Magic Leap as senior licensing counsel?
Purav Jesrani: That’s a great question. My current role at Magic Leap is to lead several different business units, and I lead the software business unit, the cloud ecosystem, healthcare, enterprise, and our developer relations team. So I’m working on a lot of content, and third-party applications, and how to bring them into our platform. So, our company was founded on the principles of achieving and leading a lot of industry firsts. And I think that our legal team follows that same principle. There are unique challenges that are presented every day. Tons of cutting-edge issues that come up every day, and our goal is to just s-stay proactive, and not be reactive. Our team and myself are tasked with finding creative solutions to these challenges. How do we build a platform and bring content on it that is ultimately used by everyone? There are many different legal challenges involved, not just negotiating the agreements with the partners to bring the technology in or license the technology out. But, also thinking about how do you make this platform something that is agnostic and used by everyone? It’s not just necessarily tied to our device, but ultimately the broader vision that we have of tying the digital and the physical worlds together is something that folks can do on any device. And what are the implications of that from an open source standpoint, from an ethic standpoint, from a privacy standpoint? There are a lot of challenges, and privacy is one of them. As any technology device does nowadays, ours ingests a ton of data. And so, we need to be sure that we are in compliance with all regulations. We do this very ethically, we make sure users are in control and have power over what data is ingested, and how it’s used.
Sean Becker: Before you joined Magic Leap, you spent six years working at Vinson & Elkins, how did that experience, prepare you for Magic Leap?
Purav Jesrani: I think it was fantastic training. I had the privilege while at Vinson & Elkins to work not only on intellectual property transactional matters, but also litigation. And having that blend and having that mix of both experiences provided a great foundation for my job now. Because to really understand some of the risks when you’re working on licensing deals, or really any deals, it’s always great to see what can go wrong. Because I had the tremendous fortune of working here with Devika. Devika really brought me into the world of technology transactions, and gave me fantastic training, and introduced me to some very cutting-edge clients, and it’s been great pleasure working with Devika, and I’m happy to say the relationship continues now. So that’s, that’s fantastic.
Devika Kornbacher: Well Purav, it was great working with you too, and I am happy that we’ve been able to continue our relationship. And it- it actually really makes me excited to hear that your time at V&E provided a foundation for your current work at Magic Leap. So, it sounds like you’ve got a bright future ahead, and so does Magic Leap. What does that look like? The future of Magic Leap, and the future of Purav?
Purav Jesrani: Well, you know, I hope it’s a long-lasting relationship. Magic Leap is truly a pioneering company, and every day at the company is something that- that provides me with an education and provides me with vigor to show up and really do the best job I can do. I see a bright future for myself. I see a bright future for Magic Leap, and I hope that this technology really does change people’s lives, and- and really does enable a better future, and a better relationship between people and technology.
Sean Becker: It’s exciting, and Purav, we’re grateful that you took the time to come back to V&E, and share the story of Magic Leap, and share more about yourself, so thank you.
Purav Jesrani: Always happy to come back. Thank you, Sean, and Devika for the opportunity.
Devika Kornbacher: Our pleasure.
Sean Becker: Thank you for joining us for this edition of Empowering Exceptional, I’m Sean Becker, please join us again next time for another episode.

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