Holger Andersson - Erghis Technologies
Holger Andersson - Erghis Technologies
Erghis Technologies has developed a touch-free computer interface that lets users control their devices through simple gestures. To make the interface easy to learn without sacrificing functionality all interaction is based around a virtual sphere that you “hold” in your hands and manipulate in various ways.
The idea was born when Örs and I were criticising the portrayal of futuristic interfaces in films, and how difficult they would be to learn and use.
I have always had an interest in languages and studied linguistics at university, but while there I also developed an interest in programming. I started working with web development, collaborating with universities in the UK to produce online learning tools and materials. The collaborations proved successful, and I moved to the UK for a few years to work on various projects. Two years ago I returned to Sweden to study software engineering.
The Erghis Sphere is designed to work as a universal interface, and will be useful in a multitude of contexts. I will spend the next three months developing the software, making it easier to port to new hardware and other operating systems. I will also be developing a way for users to more easily customise the Sphere, making it possible for them to create a touch-free interface tailored to their specific needs.
I expect to have developed the software to a point where it can easily be used in various contexts, and provides a user-friendly way of customising the interaction.
Holger Andersson - ErghisTech #2
Since the start of the Leapfrogs period my focus has been on the continued development of our software. I have been working on a re-write of the code that will make the software easier to port to other platforms and use with different sensor hardware. As part of this re-write I've also created an API that allows other programs to hook into our software. Using this we've been able to control an industrial robot entirely touch-free!
We are currently in a very dynamic phase of our company's growth, with several exciting developments occurring. As a result however, focus has sometimes had to shift from the programming to other tasks as needed. This is to be expected in a start-up though, and fortunately our planning took this into account. I've been able to split my time between the development and other activities effectively, and have been able to stick to the original plan. In some aspects, I'm even ahead of schedule...
The remainder of the Leapfrogs time will be spent according to the plan, further developing the software, and implementing support for the Kinect. I will also keep developing the API to make it even easier to integrate the Erghis Sphere into other applications. As a test of this, I will be developing a number of smaller applications that use the Sphere for touch-free control in novel ways, including one that will turn the Sphere into a musical instrument!
Holger Andersson - Erghis Technologies # 3
I find it hard to believe that the three months have already passed! It seems like only yesterday the summer started, and yet when I look back, I think I've accomplished quite a lot in the past few months. It's been really busy – and there have been a few surprises along the way – but it's been fun and exciting and I wouldn't have it any other way!
I love the development work I'm doing at the moment, and finally being able to focus on it full time has been fantastic. However, running a start-up requires doing a lot of other things too, and while I'm part of a great team who have been handling most of the activities not directly related to the development work, I've still have to split my time between different tasks – and knowing what to do when, and how long to spend on it has presented some interesting challenges.
Things have been going more or less as expected, though various timings and priorities have had to be updated as the project develops and new opportunities arise. While I've managed to do what I planned this summer, there is still much more that needs to be done on this project, and I'm fortunate enough to be able to keep working full time on it after the end of these three months.
While I've learnt plenty of lessons specific to the technical field I work in, the more general, and far more important, lesson I've learnt this summer is this: Opportunities arise from the most unexpected of places; a chance conversation, perhaps; or a seemingly crazy idea you just decide to try anyway. And while opportunities can often feel like they've come at the wrong time, sometimes you just have to go for it...
Tips for new entrepreneurs:
My first piece of advice to any entrepreneur, clichéd as it may be, is to not be afraid of taking risks. By this I certainly don't mean you should take it lightly; just that risks can be viewed as opportunities rather than threats. With that in mind, my second piece of advice is weigh each risk carefully; if you feel the potential benefits outweigh the costs, don't let the fact that it's risky stop you. After all, entrepreneurship is risky business...