February 3, 2013
You’re no stranger to digital peripherals. You’ve likely used a mouse, keyboard, touchpad, or touchscreen plenty of times. You’ve also likely played at least one mobile game or tried to draw something digitally. But did you ever feel limited in your interactions? Maybe mobile gaming or digital drawing just didn’t really emulate the accuracy in real life, but what if it did? Introducing HEX3:
Tech Cocktail: What is HEX3, and who does your startup target?
HEX3: “HEX3 is a premier creator of peripherals for the mobile world. We have two products:
1. The JaJa Pressure Sensitive Stylus (@JaJaStylus) is aimed at digital artists and creative professionals who want to use an iPad or other tablet for their art. This includes animators (Pixar, Warner, Marvel so far), portrait artists (Disneyland) and people who need to draw on and sign their name in tablet-based forms that require biometric information (doctors, banks and insurance industries – EU will only allow digital signature if it captures pressure data).
2. The AppTag Laser Blaster is a laser tag game that brings computer gaming into the real world, using the brains and camera of a smartphone and the laser tag dynamics. AppTag is aimed at 12- to 24-year-olds who want to play computer game in the real world. In December, HEX3 launched the worlds first Massive Multiplayer Real World Game MMRWG – SWARM – that sees protagonists fight off an alien invasion of Earth in real-time and locations.”
Tech Cocktail: Who is the founder of HEX3?
HEX3: “Jon Atherton (@tunes) is the founder of HEX3 and began funding of HEX3 via two Kickstarter campaigns. Jon also founded Faces.com, a social network with an online fraternity, and has been developing iOS & Android apps, achieving worldwide #1 success with the Wobble App for iPhone.”
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind HEX3?
HEX3 (Jon): “I find the creation of hardware devices to be incredibly challenging and fun.
We are integrating smart phones with gaming devices for real world mobile gaming, as well as creating other peripherals that enhance the functionality of mobile computing devices in a clever and seamless way.”
Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?
HEX3 (Jon): “At our core is a patent-pending communications protocol which I invented to overcome some of the disadvantages of connectivity issues experienced with Bluetooth and WiFi. We’re building this technology into a couple of showcase devices, but the technology has widespread application.
As for the products that we have – we compete in the massive toy industry by building higher quality products than the average toy. Our stylus has several competitive advantages which mainly stem from the technology we use to communicate with the iPad – or anything with a microphone.”
Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in your city?
HEX3 (Jon): “I’m in Brisbane Australia. So there are some challenges with time zones, particularly Europe and East coast USA. Thankfully I love travel 🙂
The flip side is that we are in the same time zone as our factory in China, and my work day effectively bridges all time zones since I start at around 4:30AM and finish around 10PM – so I get both ends of the day with our software teams in Russia and Cape Town, and I’m online for most of the US day.”
Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for HEX3. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
HEX3 (Jon): “There have been insurmountable “omg it doesn’t work” moments every second day since we started work on both of our products in April; thankfully, every other day my team and I were able to solve the problem.
Slight material changes in manufacturing, challenges with Android, sound processing, and IR laser beams that simply didn’t work. Our final products work great, and are now shipping!”
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?
HEX3: “Both our products started as Kickstarter projects; they were both oversubscribed, and whilst they shipped a little late, everyone is pretty happy since we over-delivered :-)”
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