TouchMagix: Touch screens go uber-tech

Meenakshi Rohatgi

If you were wowed by Tom Cruise in Minority Report, where he dragged, pushed and manipulated objects across a virtual screen, well, the future is here. Imagine this: a customer in a shoe showroom wants to know the features of two different pairs of shoes before he decides which one suits him best. He places both pairs on a glass-top table, and there it is - all the information he needs pops up on the glass screen.

But this is no ordinary touch-screen. TouchMagix multi-touch screens, which converts walls, floors and glass surfaces into a user interface, can be manipulated via touch as well as motion or gestures. So you can flip through the pages of a catalogue or move a football around in a field by dragging, pushing or flipping these objects with your fingers or even by gesturing with your hands or nodding your head. 

And if you think you’ve seen this all before in Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense technology or Microsoft touch-screen products, TouchMagix founder Anup Tapadia disagrees. “They are very different in terms of technology and application,” explains Tapadia, who calls his creation a “totally immersive” experience as opposed to Microsoft Kinect’s ‘referential immersive’ one.  

Tapadia's technology does not require the user to wear any apparatus - gloves or jacket - to manipulate devices from a distance. It works mainly by tracking the movements of your hands, feet or head and makes the display images change in accordingly. 

The TouchMagix technology - called MotionMagix - was initially used for advertising and branding purposes, but now it has a host of applications like installations in museums for innovative information displays, in schools to help teach, for games and quizzes, in the retail sector as in automobile showrooms for manual displays 

The Technology & Products

The company’s product bouquet includes the MagixPhone and Magix Table. So, for instance, the MagixPhone enables a large number of people to interact simultaneously with a screen to, say, post messages, request songs in a karaoke bar, or vote in real time as in television game shows. 

The MagixTable allows 40 simultaneous touches and enables collaboration between people, say, during discussions. The table comes bundled with preloaded applications such as a virtual piano, drums and board games, all of which can be played by several people simultaneously while they, say, sip coffee.

 The Opportunity

At the age of 14, Tapadia became the youngest ever in the world to be certified by Microsoft. He had his heart set on creating a product that was a fine mix of both art and technology, and although he knew exactly what he wanted to create, he waited till he figured out various applications for his dream product. Finally, at the tender age of 16, Tapadia set up TouchMagix’s predecessor TechnoKarma Labs. 

7 years later in 2009, with self-funded seed capital of Rs 3 crore, this electronics genius founded TouchMagix - a five-person team that has grown into a private limited company. “In India, people take failure too seriously. They need to learn to take bigger risks and this would also result in bigger gains,” remarks the electronics genius, adding that his company shares the technology space with only two or three other such companies in the world.  


Innovation In Business

Constant R&D and innovation enables TouchMagix to make different applications of the technology available, tailor-made to suit client needs. Thus, within just three years, the company has a client list that includes names like American Idol, Roche, Manchester United Football Club, Huawei, McDonalds, Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Cisco, Infosys, Intel, Accenture, Nike and many more.  

Revenue model

Pricing is largely based on volume and usage. MotionMagix products are priced between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, while the MagixTable is pegged at Rs 6 lakh, and the MagixPhone Rs 75,000.  

TouchMagix has its revenues coming in the following ways:

1)    By selling the entire package of products and services to their clients either directly or through distributors. This would include applications and content developed in-house. Tapadia’s team in this case would even sit down with the clients to discuss how this new technology will benefit them.

2)    By selling only the hardware with clients who already have an in house content team in place or are ready to partner with third-party content developers.

3)    It gives out its products on rent for short campaigns, exhibitions or conferences for a fee of 25000 a day. He also undertakes installations of their products at these events for an additional fee of 8000 rupees a day.

4)    The company and its distributors also earn through the sale of peripherals which go along with TouchMagix proprietary devices like a computer or a projector.