Greek HCI startup Magos was one of the big stars of our exhibition at 4YFN22. Their prototype XR glove even made it to our official post-event video! But beyond the PR, this company is hard at work aiming to bring cutting edge Human-Computer Interaction solutions into markets like healthcare, robotics and aerospace.
We had a chat with the founding team – Greg Agriopoulos (CEO) and Vasilapostolos Ouranis (CSO) – to discover more about the company and how a small startup plans to disrupt the market big time.
For those who are not familiar with Magos what is it that you do?
Magos brings touch sense in 3 dimensions, enabling everyone to interact within the virtual world with their hands and fingers as they would in the real one. Magos redefines the design of interaction techniques. We deliver real world touch sensation thanks to the high accuracy provided by our internally designed core system, which drives all the key elements such as finger tracking, hand orientation, haptic and force feedback.
But Magos is not just the hardware. It is a platform upon which several applications in several industries can be built by Virtual Reality content creators. To make this happen and bring touch into the virtual world, we’ve created a library with interaction scenarios and an SDK with plug-ins for unity. Our unreal engine makes it really easy to integrate Magos into existing applications without having to recreate the software from scratch.
What are the main achievements of the company to date?
Over the last four years, our endeavor has received several awards from national and international organizations (nominee for the Innovative VR Company of the Year in the VR Awards 2022). We have managed to get H2020 funding from the European Commission, participating in several innovative projects to evolve our technology and explore Magos applications in different sectors.
A recent worth-mentioned achievement is our established partnership with VRpilot, a Danish company developing pilot training software. Together we develop a virtual reality cockpit procedure training concept with haptic feedback. Prior to that, we also signed a contract with a leading company in the industry 4.0 sector aiming to evolve the design and training procedures of the entire organization’s workforce.
One of the things we love about Magos is that you’re a small, yet very ambitious, startup! You are not only working on developing complex cutting-edge technologies, but also on bringing them to several different markets, such as XR, robotics, aerospace and health.
Tell us more about your vision for disrupting human-computer interfaces across markets.
Our vision is to create a solution that exploits technology in order to expand people’s capabilities beyond the physical world. Hence, our commitment is not on developing one more system such as a controller, joystick, mouse or keyboard for users to interact with digital content, but allow them to use their hands the same way we use them for centuries now.
Touch is an integral part also in the virtual world to the human experience. We learn by doing, and when it comes to doing things in a natural way nothing can compete with the human hand. Imagine to be able to interact with every button in a virtual cockpit using your fingers as you would in the physical cockpit in the aerospace industry. Or to be trained as a med student in surgical training, building the muscle memory required in a safe environment. Or even teleoperate a robotic hand, located thousands of miles away, from the comfort of your house!
Engineers and designers can create and test new products avoiding significant expenditures for extensive physical prototypes. In the robotics industry we can teach and teleoperate robotic hands, enabling them to perform high dexterous tasks.
How do you balance this ambition with having a relatively small team?
Indeed, our team consists of 7 members. However, our complementary backgrounds in hardware and software development, 3D design and printing, product management and business development, have allowed us to build a multidimensional approach towards our challenges. We recognize that building a culture where everyone feels valued and fostering an environment that encourages idea sharing, lead us to achieving our collective vision.
Is there any advice you can share with founders who are, like Magos, working on complex technological projects in the area of HCI? Is there a secret sauce for success in the field?
We are living in the software era, so hardware is really tough. My advice to those who attempt similar endeavours is, first of all, to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Also, it is crucial to keep always updated, both technology and business-wise. Somewhere down the road they will be able to connect the dots. This will help them remain unbiased and welcome new ideas and concepts.
Magos was one of the stars of the 4YFN 2022 exhibition and received a lot of interest from our attendees. You even welcomed some high-profile visits from industry leaders at your pod.
What was the most exciting thing about your experience at 4YFN2022?
Being the highlight in the official 4YFN post-event video, which provided Magos with great exposure on a global scale. Another highlight was the opportunity to demonstrate Magos to Mats Granryd, General Director of GSMA, who visited our booth along with his team.
Tell us more about your time at the event. How did the participation at 4YFN help you achieve your goals?
During 4YFN 2022, we had the great opportunity to connect and discuss with the leaders and pioneers from various industries such as telco, consulting, industry 4.0 and robotics. Furthermore, we got valuable insights into how and where Magos could be exploited. Some of those we met have already adopted solutions relevant to Magos ecosystem technologies, which undoubtedly supported our discussions about building together a concrete plan towards our future collaborations.
The Magos glove is starring in our post-event video, with some really great imagery. What does this type of exposure mean for a startup like Magos?
When such a production highlights our technology, this fills us with confidence that we are creating something meaningful for the community. To be more specific, this type of commercial material is created in order to communicate effectively in really short time the main vision of the conference, indicating cases that will have an impact that matters in the future. Being in the spotlight of the post-event video has given us one reason to feel delighted and excited about our participation in the 4YFN22.
What recommendations do you have for startups who are planning to be part of the exhibition at 4YFN23? How can they best prepare for a productive experience but also have some fun?
During the event, there are limitless opportunities for establishing new relationships with relevant prospects, so a good plan is necessary in order to avoid losing opportunities that may be really important for your endeavour. Having some fun during the event is important not only for entertainment purposes but also for strengthening the relationships with prospect partners and clients.
Lastly, what’s the next big milestone Magos is set on achieving? Where will we see Magos 4 years from now?
Ages of evolution, brought us to the information age and the age of Metaverse. The virtual world is becoming increasingly important in recreation and work. With Magos, a solution that enables freedom of fingers movement, we are building a future where virtual interactions will be no different to the physical ones.
In 4 years from now, we foresee a whole different experience within the virtual world. Magos will move the digital presence from an unrealistic, or even negative concept, to a real experience with the exact feelings and conditions of the most demanding use cases.
At 4YFN we can’t wait for this vision to become a reality. Thanks for your time!