Technology is evolving rapidly. We are experiencing such wonders of technology that would have been difficult even to imagine a few years ago. Virtual Reality (VR) is one such wonder. It is defined as a computer generated environment that can be interacted with as if that environment was real (NextGen). Yet till now, you cannot actually grab the objects in VR, if you do so all you will feel is air. An extremely developed VR system would allow the user to sense the objects, seize them or feel that the objects are actually in front of him. Haptika-the brainchild of Muhammad Nabeel is working to provide a highly immersive Virtual Reality experience.
Startup.pk had an interesting chat with Nabeel:
Q: What does “Haptika” mean? It’s a radically different product, how did you conceive this idea?
A: “Haptic” is the study of sensations and the control of interaction with a computer. The name of our startup, Haptika, is derived from it. I did my Masters Research in Haptics. During my masters I wanted to develop Haptic gadgets but due to certain constraints I couldn’t do. When I finished my Masters and came back to Pakistan, I founded Haptika. Virtual reality is a hot topic around. Imagine you are living in an environment where you cannot touch anything. How would you feel? Absolutely nothing! It would be just air all around you. Similarly, in Virtual Reality you perceive sight and sound but cannot physically touch the things.
At Haptika we want to provide Interaction beyond Imagination.
Q: How many team members do you have?
Q: How many gadgets have you developed?
A: We have developed a vest that is called a “Haptic Jacket”. It is especially designed for people who love gaming. Usually when a person is gaming he can only here the voice of the bullet or explosion.
If a person is wearing the Haptic Jacket while gaming he can actually feel that bullet being shot at him or feel the explosion taking place in front of him.
.Haptik Jacket is available online on our website. Other than this we are developing other wearable devices like bands and watches, full body gadgets.
Q: What is the application of these gadgets? Other than gamers who would be your potential customers?
A: Our early adopters would be gaming freaks. But the application of our products is not limited to them only. Haptic products can be used by medical students e.g. Haptic wearable gloves. Medical students are provided virtual training to perform an operation. During their study if they wear Haptic gloves, they’ll feel that they are actually performing that surgery/operation. Then we have applications in military trainings, Haptic jackets can be worn in military training and the soldiers/cadets will feel as if they are actually shot the bullet which would give them a more realistic effect of being surrounded by enemy. The haptic products can also be used during VR calling such as skype calling, the person can feel/touch the other person. So it will give them a real feeling that they are present with the other person. In short, we are taking VR to a whole new level through our products.
Q: Have you graduated from Nest I/O? How do you see their role?
A: We will graduate in May 2016. The most important role The Nest I/O has played is providing us mentorship and motivation
Q: Who are your competitors?
A: There are US based companies like Korfx which have developed a similar vest for gaming but on the whole VR is not their focus. Araig is also a US based company which worked in this area previously but not now. Then there is Xbox which allows you to control the characters through movements. But our focus is wearable products. That’s how we are different.
Q: Do you think there is a market in Pakistan for such products? Are people willing to buy? What is the approximate costs of such products?
A: Actually the true market for such products exists in US/Europe. The cost of the Haptic jacket is 8000 PKR which is very affordable when you see the features its providing. We are introducing a relatively new thing in Pakistan so people will get time to accept/adopt it. We are a new company and there is a trust issue as well. To find the real market of our products we are planning to move outside the country.
Q: What is your short term goal and where do you see Haptika in future?
Our short-term goal is to start a KickStarter campaign. We aim to reach to people around the world through *KickStarter and hopefully seek funding.
Q: You are doing great work at **Scholarship Network Pakistan. We really appreciate the positive role you are playing in directing the youngsters. Any message that you would like to give?
A: Thank-you so much. To all the youngsters/ about to graduate students I would like to say that you should focus on directing your research towards practicality. Develop products that can be implemented to give something back to the society.
*KickStarter is a global platform which helps bring creative projects to life.
**Scholarship Network is a group on social media that helps Pakistani students find, share foreign and local scholarships and education opportunities.