^ An example of Ultraleap's mid-air haptics in a Citroen DS concept car
“The Citroen DS concept car that our technology is embedded in is an incredibly beautiful because it has no dashboard. You just hold your hand out and control the car systems via that mode.
“There’s a lot going on in that space and much of it, especially fully autonomous vehicles, is still a long way off for most people, I think. However, we expect to see our technology in cars ahead of the autonomous vehicles being the norm.”
Taking the first steps from Nottingham
So, what is it that turns an electrical engineer into someone who has been responsible for not just one, but seven start-ups?
“When I left university I went into a technical products role so not actually in engineering – this was mainly because I saw the engineers sat in the offices all day and then I saw the product team flying all over the world, and I thought I’ll do that!
“One of the key things from my time at Nottingham which today I really appreciate is that being an electronic engineering student, I was on a 1-3-1 sandwich course. Which basically meant I did quite a bit of industrial experience, learning how to weld, solder and wire things – really building things. At one point I was even qualified to put together a military wiring loom for an aircraft!
“That was very good grounding in terms of practical applications of what I was doing. Having that experience and understanding is extremely important in terms of where you start your career, and it still helps today.”
A touchless future?
What we all want to know is whether in 10 or 20 years’ time we’ll all be living in a Minority Report/Blade Runner world - what is it that will be the making of touchless technology?
“Many technologists think the technology will sell itself and it’s not about sales and marketing. But it is. The technology very rarely fails. It’s all about having the right products, at the right place, at the right time.
“Who would have thought that you could bring out a mobile phone that was four times the price of the current one and actually sell it and make a business out of it? How do you take a vacuum cleaner that cost £49 and sell one for £300? Apple did it. Dyson did the same. It all comes down to comms and product.”