It’s been six years since Daniel Carlman and his team at ManoMotion set about creating the software that’s now taking the tech world by storm, and that hard work is now paying off.
ManoMotion’s revolutionary technology makes it possible to control computers and mobile devices with just hand gestures. Users can simply grab and manipulate objects in 3D space, real time, as they would in the physical world, with no extra hardware needed.
Little wonder that it has caught the attention of Silicon Valley’s talent spotters. Every year, the organisation Founder.org admits just 40 companies to its Accelerator programme in San Francisco, an entrepreneurial programme that nourishes the next billion-dollar companies in tech. With more than 1600 applicants, the programme is one of the most sought after of its kind. And ManoMotion, along with live video solution Peercast, are the only Swedish companies to meet the tough admissions requirements in the last year.
We spoke with CEO Daniel Carlman, who told us about the technology behind, and the future of, one of the country’s most exciting tech companies.
We have created a new system that is revolutionary, because it can read and translate complex hand movements in a more effective way than ever before. We focus on enabling communication with technology through gestures. What is unique is that we manage so-called micro motions with great precision, which is different from other previous techniques that might only catch larger movements.
Our technology enables users to view and use their hands, which most people testing VR today feel is missing. With our solution, you can do this with a standard 2D camera, while other solutions on the market require 3D cameras that are heavy in terms of CPU and how much battery power they use.
We will be releasing an SDK for Android and iOS developers to use in any AR or VR application. We believe in augmented reality, and in AR you must be able to interact with the real world in a natural way – that’s the whole point. To scratch your head on a touchpad, as you would do with today’s solutions, is not intuitive or natural. We want to create a natural connection that works without a learning curve.
The Internet of Things is also a huge market for us. Being able to turn on or off the TV, turn up the volume on the car stereo, control drones, unlock the computer or whatever using hand movements is quite possible with our technology.
This is a highly competitive programme; last year alone, there were over 1600 applications, and they admitted only 40 companies from the world’s top universities such as MIT, Harvard and the like. All the companies in the programme have elaborate ideas about how they want to change the world. It’s a very exciting concept, and the network we have access to within the programme is amazing. It also gives us an entry into Silicon Valley, which we had not been able to get from Sweden on our own.
First and foremost, to launch the first version of the SDK and refine, improve and launch it on multiple platforms. We’re currently in discussions with several major players, so a lot is set to happen in the coming year. But we also want to continue building our team. Right now we’re seven employees, but we’d like to grow the team to perhaps fifteen employees during the year so that we can speed up development.
Most of our competitors were acquired before they released anything commercially; they might have had time to release a beta version or similar at best. But we have the ambition to go live and become the next generation 3D mouse that does not require additional hardware. The advantage of our technology is that it’s software-based, which means we can scale it up very quickly. Any device that has a camera can potentially use this technology without any additional hardware, which means virtually every mobile phone in the world.