What image comes to almost everyone’s mind when asked to describe a laboratory from a science fiction film? A hovering holographic computer that the protagonist (or antagonist) operates using hand gestures, of course. While we may still be a few generations away from a Tony Stark-worthy computer, optical sensing technology is here and Taipei-based technology firm Serafim is taking it mainstream.
We interviewed Serafim CEO GZ Chen to hear more about the company’s array of electrical projection products, from virtual keyboards to laser mouses–all of which emit a recognizable red glow to turn any surface into a digital tool.
JS: We’re at the Hong Kong Electronic Fair with GZ, the CEO of Serafim. We have a very futuristic device here. GZ, can you tell us a bit more?
GZ: We develop sensing optical-electrical technology and use it to build virtual keyboards, pianos, and more. You can see this device (he runs a finger across the table surface and the complimentary tablet shows the piano keys being touched, which generates musical notes) works like a regular set of keys. We have an app to control this sensing technology.
JS: How did you come to found this company?
GZ: We were working with optical electric technology and saw that there’s a big market for it with mobile phones. After speaking to many people, the feedback we received was that they wanted a bigger screen for typing, so we used our existing tech to make this idea come true.
JS: The product feels very intuitive. Why have we not seen anything like this on the market before?
GZ: Maybe optical electric companies don’t have the resources to apply it to consumer tech or market the products effectively.
JS: What are some milestones that you have achieved in 2018 and what do you hope for the company in 2019?
GZ: We already completed a few successful projects on Kickstarter. We are backed with over 460% of our target and we also run projects on Makuake in Japan and received significant backing, so this has been a very good year. Next year, we’re going to launch our new product for motion gaming. I want to try and sell over 1 million units around the world.
JS: Can you tell us a bit more about this gaming unit?
GZ: It’s the same device as used in the laser keyboard (Serafim Keybo). We just put this device on the inside of the gaming unit, which you can wear on your back. Just connect it to your smartphone using Bluetooth and pull the backpack handles to operate the game.
JS: Wow, that’s very cool. How much does the device retail for?
GZ: The retail price will be about US$160.
JS: How has your experience at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair been?
GZ: This show has been successful for us. We’ve met interested people from all over the world. It’s been great.