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As you may know already we like to move fast at hap2U! That’s why we have been attending several tradeshows in just one month. Let’s start by the SiD Display Week last May in Los Angeles. This one is definitely a reference for the display technologies and the main actors of the industry. This has given us the opportunity to overview the markets and to position us at the very center of this ecosystem. You may think our technology is suitable only for niche applications such as education or devices for blind people; well actually, it is not quite true. Automotive has revealed itself being the most active market looking for haptic solutions followed by the Consumer and Industrial markets. The SiD Display Week has opened us doors and insights to whom need our unique haptic technology and how we can integrate it to their devices.
Two weeks later this tradeshow was followed by the Computex-Innovex in Taipei. This is one of the greatest meetings in Asia of the technology game-changers. This was noticed again with the new approach of ASUS with a laptop integrating a ScreenPad in place of the trackpad allowing new actions and functionalities. You may think “who needs this?” and the question is more “why don’t we see more initiatives like this one, instead of focusing on a notch smartphone?”. Computex-Innovex also provided us with new opportunities and a different way of conceiving the interactions between the Human and the Machine. Stay tuned for our coming developments!
Now, if you already want to discover more about us and our technology, the former center of Europe’s creativity Pisa will host Eurohaptics at which we participate. Hopefully we will see you there for technical or business discussions!
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Today let’s talk a bit about haptic technologies!
The haptic field is still new, and the coming years will see a drastic change in how we interact with our environment! How many haptic devices do you know so far? I guess, the vibration category is known by all of you. It corresponds to the one providing you with notifications or a click in your smartphone. It is commonly called the Vibrotactile. Different physical systems can provide a vibration feedback. One of the most renowned is the Eccentric Rotating Mass (ERM) that was traditionally integrated into mobile phones and gaming accessories such as controls for video-game consoles. A most recent type of physical system is Linear Resonant Actuators (LRA). It is faster than the traditional ERM and uses less power while providing a more accurate feedback. The last noticeable system to produce a vibrotactile feedback, such as a Click, is Electro-Active Polymer (EAP). The EAP are thin-layer of active material (200 µm) that can produce a deformation under a difference of voltage. With this technology there is a possibility for generating sound as well, in specific conditions of casing integration.
Now, if we leave the field of contact technologies for a quick moment, we can explore what is called mid-air haptic technologies. Basically, these haptic systems will let you feel a contact without contact! This works with using tiny kind-of-speakers which will focus all on one point on the hand or finger providing with a feeling of touch without a contact. This has nice applications for the medical field. It sounds promising and we are still expecting to see it happening in real life.
Then come the haptic technologies based on Friction-Modulation. Behind this barbaric term, relies a very simple principle in which the feeling of touch comes from a change in the friction between the finger and the interface. When you can precisely control the friction and its changes from rough to smooth and so on, then the possibilities of haptic rendering become endless. You can expect feeling fabric materials directly on your smartphone screen for instance. Different ways to monitor the friction exist and when having a specific look at hap2U technology, we can realize that is it purely based on mechanical vibration.
This vibration occurs at ultrasonic frequencies (above 20 kHz) and generates a thin-film of pressurized air between your finger and the screen thus modifying the friction. This way the vibration can be controlled and so is the feeling of touch. The pure mechanical characteristic means it has a high reliability in all environments (Daily life, Automotive, Industry …). Finally, this technology enables multiple features at the same time: haptic feedback, click function, multitouch and audio provided directly from the screen! There are a lot to expect from hap2U tech in a near-future !
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Did you know that we have an office in Taipei? Well, our office here allows us to prospect the leaders of the Display and the Touch Panel industries as well as some of the best Consumer companies from Asia! Hap2U is deeply involved into the Taiwanese ecosystem with its connection to local organizations and networks such as ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute) and the support of La French Tech Taiwan. Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pitch for our disruptive haptic technology in front of Chen Liang-gee, the Minister of Sciences and Technology of Taiwan, Benoit Guidée the director of the French Office in Taipei as well as VC investors and executives of some of the most renowned Taiwanese companies!
Our implantation here is strategic for the development of our activities overseas and to strengthen our licensing model development. In Asia, the opportunities are huge with a fast-growing environment in a tough-competing atmosphere. We are in the ideal position to take advantage of this situation with our truly unique and patented haptic technology. It provides our customers with a distinctive feature from their competitors and enrich their user experience through the tactile features.
The next steps here will be to consolidate our partnerships with our current customers and to increase our resources to accelerate our Asian development. 2018 is full of challenges that we are looking to take on!