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Revolutionize the way humans interact with technology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RealHands (Revolutionize the way humans interact with technology)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

Problem:
Within the field of mobile AR/VR, using your hands is the most intuitive way to interact with real and virtual objects. However, real time tracking and analysis of hand movements using cameras have been an extremely challenging problem due to the complex movements of the hands and the hardware limitations of smart devices. The absence of realistic hand interaction has so far been one of the limiting factors for broad adoption of AR/VR solutions. This project tackles the full hand tracking challenges in real time for mobile platforms to deliver intuitive experiences to users.

Importance for society:
Hand tracking and hand interaction is a vital concept in any interactive AR/VR use case. ManoMotion’s patented technology integrates hand tracking and gesture analysis in a B2B software solution. This solution creates real-time hand understanding, gesture control & hand-to-object interaction in mobile AR/VR environments. ManoMotion is on a mission to make technology more accessible and intuitive by using hand input in a wide range of applications, such as industrial, education, healthcare use cases, etc.

Overall objectives of project RealHands:

Expand product features, quality improvement, usability analysis and IP analysis of the ManoMotion product.

Market expansion/partnering, preparations to enter new markets with presence in USA and Asia.

Stakeholder onboarding and co-development of new features with key industry partners.

Ramp up marketing and communication activities, preparation of promotional materials and better visibility in key events.
Work Performed and Main Results

Expand product features and improve quality significantly:
Combined SDK solutions of ManoMotion into a unified framework with a standard software architecture was released.
Hand gesture support was extended to full hand tracking and gesture analysis and released in the ManoMotion product.
Quality assurance of the released features and software versions, usability analysis and user tests were done in multiple iterations during the first year.
IP analysis of the core technology and inventions have been done. The outcomes of major contributions have been considered for patent applications.
Market expansion and partnering:

Plan to set up a direct US operation in early 2020 and an Asian operation in Q2 2020. Delayed due to Covid-19 and will be reconsidered when the world opens up again. Focus has been on having a strong online presence.

Analyzed the market opportunities for the ManoMotion technology. Will go to market in three vertical areas, using the same underlying technology, packaged in different ways:
Industrial customization projects, Integration into AR Headsets and SDK for Mobile Apps

Partnering activities with OEMs in each area:
An industrial company chose to implement ManoMotion hand-detection technology as part of their safety systems to detect hands in dangerous zones.
A US based AR headset manufacturer became a partner using our software to control the HMI of their headsets.
An automotive manufacturer licenced the SDK to evaluate touchless hand interactions inside the car.

The ManoMotion standard SDK was launched on the ManoMotion website in January 2020 and has had success in its first six months:
The free version has been downloaded 1600 times
The commercial version has had 200 requests


Stakeholder onboarding and co-development:

To improve the onboarding and conversion of visitors:
The website was upgraded to be more focused directing visitors directly to download our SDK.
Supporting materials were developed and made available on the website to ease app development using the ManoMotion SDKs
A new licensing system were implemented and introduced for web downloads
Changes introduced have had a positive impact on the number of downloads and registered users on our website.

To create early users and developers of our technology, hackathons were planned, but due to covid-19, efforts were re-focused to:
Run an online community with events on a continuous basis, allowing users to try out new versions, new ideas and new features and give us their feedback.
Creating an online hackathon

The planned remote guidance solution was postponed to the second project year due to lack of a suitable partner. Some potential customers and their requirements have been identified.


Dissemination and exploitation

During the first year, we have communicated the progress in terms of new technology and products released, relevant use cases of the technology and how to use the technology.

Over 30 videos have been produced and shown for clients and investors and a selection has been posted in our social media channels. Five white papers were produced and published through press releases, social media and on our website.

Through weekly posts in our social media channels and press releases the outcome has been 8 500 registered users for our SDK, 16 345 people reached on Facebook and 33 813 views on Linkedin.

We initially attended trade shows like CES with good results. The planned trade shows in February-May were cancelled due to Covid-19 and we have focused on online marketing activities and communication during 2020.

IP analysis of improvements of the core technology solutions have been done and the outcome of new scientific contributions have been considered for further novelty search and potential patent applications.

ManoMotion has been to many pitch events such as Slush, Arctic 15 and SEP Scaleup Summit Meeting, Bryssel. Moreover, more than 40 meetings have been held with a total of 200 investors.
Technical developments within the first year of the project have resulted in significant quality improvements and addition of required features in the ManoMotion product. Currently, ManoMotion technology provides the most efficient and detailed hand tracking and gesture analysis software for mobile platforms. Similar technologies require extremely powerful hardware to provide advanced hand tracking features or provide limited functionality on smartphones.

The uniqueness of the ManoMotion solution is related to its novel AI framework and IP. During the first year of the project, several innovative methods and potential inventions have been developed that are planned to go through a patentability analysis during the second year.

The main technical activities of the second year of the project will be focused on performance improvements, building a scalable data driven framework for automated learning and integration of hand tracking with other input methods for smart devices.

The commercial result from this project has started to make it possible for AR-applications to be developed and made available on smartphones and low-end headsets previously not possible. This will make it possible for many new AR applications to be usable sooner and will benefit not only ManoMotion commercially but also many AR studios and smaller HMD manufacturers and their customers and users. During the second year we plan to launch our products on a global scale by ramping up sales and marketing.
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