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HaloTouch combines WiFi Display & Motion Control let you control Android phones in a sci-fi way!

We are on Crowdfunding Spotlight of  Berkeley Souring Group

HaloTouch is a device to bring the screen of smart phones/tablets onto any surface, and turn the surface as a touch input at the same time. The surface can be flat, non-flat, or even a piece of glass! With HaloTouch, we unleash the true power of touch input and create a more natural way to interact with your smart devices with an affordable price!    

Prototype:

Product enclosure (concept):

WiFi Display is supported by Android (with version 4.2 or higher). The 2-way communication feature is called User Input Back Channel (UIBC) in Miracast, and is supported by Android. Unfortunately, it’s not fully implemented so we designed our way to make this feature available. The solution will be published as an open source library so any manufacturer can include this library and enable the remote input feature in the future!

Currently we are reconstructing our library to make it more flexible and extendable. In addition, some modifications are required to avoid violating NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) agreements that we signed chip vendors. The information will be updated on our Kickstarter project soon.    

With HaloTouch, you can turn any wall/surface into a big touch screen of your smart devices, such as Android phones and tablets. With the remote & larger touch screen, users can download a drawing application to form an interactive whiteboard. However, the user scenario is not limited to business or education purpose. HaloTouch is all about information sharing, so you can show a map, browse the Internet, or even play games with friends. Here are some using occasions:    

  • Educating or business meeting: Using any drawing application as an interact whiteboard. It’s easy, free, and all the images can be saved on your smart phone to make sharing a single click away.    
  • Sharing photos or other information: With a larger screen, showing photos from last trip or browsing Google map friends could be much easy and more interactive.    
  • Playing games with friends: With HaloTouch, games become even more interesting. Turing a regular wall into a 50” (or even bigger) touch screen makes it possible to control games by you and your friends at the same time.    

Are those all? Of course not, HaloTouch’s true potential is only limited by your imagination. By projecting on non-flat or transparent surfaces, HaloTouch creates a “sci-fi” way to interact with smart devices; and remember, it only costs few hundred bucks!    

  • On non-flat surfaces: Since one of its underlying technologies is motion detection, HaloTouch can be applied on non-flat surfaces, including statues, waterfalls, or even on smog! For example, teachers can project the inner structure of a vehicle on a real car, and touch the vehicle to see how an engine consumes gasoline to provide the energy for driving.    
  • On a glass: Yes! It’s reproducing Tom Cruise’s famous scene in the Minority Report movie. For now on, you can do this at home without costing a fortune!    

After connection, our app will transmit the screen of your smart phone/pad to HaloTouch, and bring the screen to the projector by HDMI cable.

At the same time, the camera on HaloTouch will capture the position of TouchRing, and translate the position as a touch input on your smart phone.    

Key Technologies:

  • WiFi Display: It’s also called Miracast in Android’s world, which is the technology to capture the screen of an Android device and transfer it wirelessly onto remote display (could be a monitor, a projector, etc.).    
  • Motion Detection: The camera on HaloTouch captures the position of our TouchRing and simulates it as the touch input on the smart phone/pad. Since the position is captured by a camera, the TouchRing can be used on flat or non-flat surfaces, as long as the TouchRing is visible by our camera.    

Previous Design:

Although HaloTouch is rather a new concept for users, we spent quite a long time to come to this stage. Here are major milestones in our R&D process:

  • Aug, 2012: We announced a totally software version of WiFi Display on Android, with the typical latency of one frame (0.06 second).
  • Feb, 2013: With the Miracast standard announced by Google in late 2012, we switched our solution to Miracast, and started to integrate motion detection sensor onto our product.
  • Jul, 2013: The first working prototype of HaloTouch.
  • Nov, 2013: version 1 of HaloTouch hardware.

Limitation:

Currently, HaloTouch has following limitations:    

1. Root privilege: Although Miracast supports 2-way communication, Android doesn’t fully implement this future. Therefore, we design our version on this part, and it needs root privilege to install our library. We will open our code so any manufacturer could include the feature freely. In that case, you don’t need to root your device in the future.

2. Miracast Latency: We don’t want to lie to you. Any wireless remote screen technology has latency! In usual environment, the latency is around 0.1~1.5 seconds, which is fair enough for ninety percent of applications. The exception would be 3D gaming (e.g. Asphalt 8) and Full HD video playback. In both scenarios, WiFi Display is not the best solution we recommend. However, our goal is to fulfill 90% of user scenarios with an affordable price, which is indeed realized by HaloTouch, and we wish you will enjoy it, just like us.

3. iPhone/iPad support: iPhone is not supported because Apple doesn’t support WiFi Display. iDevices (iPhone/iPad/iPod) only support Apple’s proprietary AirPlay protocol, which is Apple’s version of WiFi Display.

  • 150K: 2 new colors for HaloTouch & TouchRing
  • 200K: A touch pen accessory that can be attached onto TouchRing. A pen styled TouchRing will provide better user experience in writing characters.
  • 300K: 2 new TouchRings in different sizes

The best part of Kickstarter is sharing and encouraging. There are always great ideas to take action, but only few could be delivered by big companies. Start-ups like us fill the technology gap and bring products from merely a concept to an operable prototype, like our HaloTouch. It’s a new concept to communicate with smart devices and, by sharing our progress, Kickstarters could decide the next stage or even a better user scenario for this prototype. By successfully fund, Kickstarters not only support us in monetary manner, you also confirm the requirement is indeed there. Therefore, we are empowered and encouraged to bring the concept to its final stage – production and bring it to market for everyone else!

By pledging our project, you can expect: 

  • The latest news from our product development 
  • You will be the first one to get HaloTouch in the market! 
  • The best part is: you make a new idea happen! 

We can’t build HaloTouch without you, so we would like to spread the spirit forward. Therefore, we joined KickItForwarding.org so 5% of our profit will be put back to Kickstarter to turn more good ideas to be products!

Every pledge and comment counts!

  • (30%) BOM cost of 1K products/packages/shipments
  • (40%) Enclosure of product & tooling cost
  • (10%) Software development
  • (10%) Passing certification like CE, FCC, WiFi, HDMI, and all other necessary certifications
  • (10%) Kickstarter commission & tax

You may find the expense of software development is quite small. It’s not because this part is easy. On the contrary, the project goal might be doubled if we added the programming cost. The thing is we really want to see HaloTouch on the market and we are willing to eat the marshmallow a bit later!

Halo-Digi Technology is founded by a bunch of nerds, homebodies, daydreamers, and boring programmers. If we do have something in common, it’s the passion to make something different as our footprint in the world!

We’ve seen the possibility of a whole new way to interact with smart phones two years ago, and decided to try this new concept of separating computing and display. In short, users bring a cubic as the motherboard in the future; the display is thin and connected to the cubic wirelessly. Therefore, users can choose different display sizes for different occasions. For example, 20” display as a PC, 10” display as a pad, and 4” as a smart phone! The key technology in it is called WiFi Display, so we built a totally software solution (our own version) of Miracast, which is actually prior to Android’s announcement. Combined with motion detection technology, we call it HaloTouch.

Our Team:

Joe Chiang: Chairman. Strategy Consultant. Master degree in Economics (Hitotsubashi University, Japan). Conduct market research for IT/Telecom industries to define its competitive landscape, targeted customers, and other key strategic factors.

Chia-Shen Chiang: CEO. Serial entrepreneur. Dual master in MBA (University of Cambridge, UK) & Computer Science (National Taiwan University). Found and lead the Halo-Digi Technology to achieve its goal as the solution provider in HID (human interface device) related technologies.

Huntern Shu: Chief Legal Officer. Registered U.S. Patent Attorney. Prepare and prosecute US and worldwide patent applications in the fields of software, mechanical devices and semiconductor circuit design.

Louis Lin: CTO. Half god in C programming language! Prior experience: VoIP, SoC design, caching algorithm, Linux kernel, and everything can be done by C.

Jarrow Chen: R&D. Java expert & Linux architect.

Alan Lee: Product Manager. Serial entrepreneur. Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering (Northwestern University, US). Form product concept and conduct market intelligence to shape product features. Facilitate prototype and product manufacturing.

Anita Tai: Designer. Product enclosure design. Visual design. And the best product tester!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

HaloTouch is a complete system with WiFi & sensor hardware and a fully Linux operating system, which means it can become quite complex both in developing and manufacturing phase. The complexity comes from following parts:

Product Hardware Design: Unless the stretch goal is achieved, we won’t change current design on our PCB and HaloTouch would stay the same dimension as on our video. The risk on hardware mainly comes from the design of TouchRing. We've tried ring, pen, and glove shape in our lab. The challenge is to design a comfortable yet precise feedback (to be clicked) device to be attached on users’ fingers. Therefore, we might change the shape of TouchRing to achieve the goal. Or we may just set up a poll to for users to choose! Any update or decision will be put on our blog and Kickstarter.

Manufacture: We chose one of the largest OEMs in PC industry, which should eliminate most of the manufacturing risk. However, there is always small possibility to cause issues in mass production. If that do happen, we will make sure the root cause be clearly explained to our backers and it should only impact the production date rather than product function.

Compatibility and Wireless issue: HaloTouch is a product combining WiFi and motion detecting sensor. The demo on our videos are all on our device, which means basic mirroring, touching, sweeping can be performed correctly. However, it doesn’t guarantee a flawless user experience. Wireless connection might face glitch due to WiFi stability and motion detection might be malfunctioned if the sensor faces strong light source. To eliminate the issue, we chose key components from 1st-tier suppliers to enhance product stability. Most importantly, many of these issues can be solved by correct installation, which will be further explained in FAQ section and our product blog.

FAQ

  • iPhone is not supported because Apple doesn’t support WiFi Display. Actually all iDevices (iPhone/iPad/iPod) only support Apple’s proprietary AirPlay protocol, which is Apple’s version of WiFi Display, and they don't have touch input feature like HaloTouch.

    Last updated:
  • Actually the remote screen function is already supported by Windows 8.1. We will enable the touch input function by adding a driver in Windows to make it fully functional in the future.

    Last updated:
  • It's alright. A HDMI to VGA converter can solve the problem.

    Last updated:
  • Typically the distance can be 3~5 meters, which can yield a projected screen of much more than 100” already.

    Last updated:
  • DLNA can only play video/audio/image on remote screen, while WiFi Display (or Miracast) can bring exactly what’s on local screen to remote one. It’s also called screen mirroring in some technical explanation document.

    Last updated:
  • Miracast and WiFi Display are basically the same thing. Miracast is already a standard in WiFi Alliance and is supported by Android OS (with version 4.2 or higher). Many cell phone companies (e.g. HTC, Samsung, Sony) have their special term for remote screen sharing, the underlying technology is all from Miracast.

    Last updated:
  • Actually, there's no limitation here. The remote screen & touch input feedback feature is independent of Android's application level. In other words, any application can be projected on remote screen. Some might get confused on why we still have to open our library/SDK. The reason it to avoid "root" privilege while installing our library. If phone/tablet manufacturers embedded our library into their product, customers don't have to "root" their devices anymore!

    Last updated:
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    Thank you for your support and we will keep you updated for the progress of our product development. In addition, your name will be listed permanently on our website as "The Backer of HaloTouch".

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    Besides to list your name on our web side, we will send you a hand written card to express our gratitude. The post card will be designed with our product image on it and sent out around mid of April.

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    You will get a carrying case with our logo on it. The case can be used to carry HaloTouch or any gadget with the same size.

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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL. You will get a set of HaloTouch (a HaloTouch with a TouchRing).

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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL. You will get a set of HaloTouch (a HaloTouch with a TouchRing). On top of that, you will get a carrying case with our logo on it. The case can be used to carry HaloTouch or any gadget with the same size.

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    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL. You will get a set of HaloTouch (a HaloTouch + TouchRing), a carrying case, and a HDMI cable.

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    LIMITED EDITION: You will get a set of HaloTouch (a HaloTouch with a TouchRing) limited edition (with the signature from the founder on HaloTouch).

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    Founder Dinner. You can pick a place in US or Taiwan, and our founder will fly and have a dinner with you. We would like to say thank you face to face and know your opinions for our product. Plus, we will prepare a special set of HaloTouch in any color you like.

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