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Interview with Ken Iwasaki from H2L UnlimitedHand Game Controller
H2L UnlimitedHand – Haptic Feedback Video Game Controller
UnlimitedHand is a wearable device that allows users to input the finger movements into the game through the use of embedded motion and muscle motion sensor.
At the same time, users can feel the haptic feedback from the game world with multi-channel electric muscle stimulation (EMS). By integrating this technology into a game controller, effects such as bodily encounters and occasions of being inflicted with damage within games can be felt in person. UnlimitedHand gives users the ability to touch and feel the game world.
With lots of head mounted displays are developed, game industry is entering the era of virtual reality. However, it is limited to sight and hearing. UnlimitedHand adds haptic sensation to virtual reality.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ken Iwasaki, Co-founder and CEO of H2L. I see myself as a researcher and entrepreneur, rotating the wheels of technology and business. As a researcher, I have a background in computer science and brain science. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had my experiences at a consulting firm.
Crowdfunding is the best tool for estimating market needs before you really go into manufacturing.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
While I’m fresh in the morning, I do some research and development of the product with my co-founder/CTO Emi and the tech team. After lunch, I get social replying to mails and meeting with partners.
I enjoy food, so taking my team to an enjoyable meal at a restaurant for lunch and/or dinner is one of my priorities.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I love listening to and playing jazz music. I live with a small bird who sings like Charlie Parker, the modern jazz guru.
How did you come up with the idea for your product and what made you “go for it”?
We started research and development of a multi-channel EMS for finger motion and its applications. In fact, we came up with the idea of haptic feedback 3 years ago when we just started up. As VR gaming market is growing fast, I made up my mind to focus on this market.
What made you decide to go with crowdfunding (or venture capital)?
Crowdfunding is the best tool for estimating market needs before you really go into manufacturing. Also we can see the feedback from users while doing continuous iterations of hardware prototypes.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made with your product (financial, emotional, educational) that led to the product we’re experiencing today?
The UnlimitedHand was first designed as a bulky belt-type gadget. For easy wearing, we simplified the product features and re-designed it from scratch. That made the product into a simple silicone pad-like device.
Where do you see your company or your company’s focus in 1-2 years?
Our goal is to develop a system that enables you to experience the outside world, even if you are staying at your home. Since our technology focuses on touch feeling, we are going to find partners who are developing products for visilisation and hearing. We will announce the holistic integrated system within 1-2 years.
If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
Virtual reality and augmented reality will change our lifestyle.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and work and why?
All the researchers who founded their own companies. They focus on changing the world with their technology, putting moneymaking second. True wealth comes from such attitude.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to facilitate a successful financing campaign?
Researchers always think of novelty, effectiveness, and contribution of their work. As an entrepreneur, I always use the same checklist:
– What’s new about your product?
– How smart will it solve a problem?
– What’s the contribution to the community, market, or the industry?
What do you see as the biggest advancement in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
Virtual reality and augmented reality will change our lifestyle. For example, high-resolution HMD will let you travel all over the world. When you want to touch something inside it, you’ll use the UnlimitedHand!
What do you see as the biggest risk in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
User’s psychological barrier of wearing a bulky or Sci-Fi looking device. To make the users step forward and try out the device will be the key.