Kahn and Abghari — co-founder and chief technology officer — say the startup has turned a costly, time-consuming exercise into one that can create a new gesture in just minutes. Developers don’t have to code custom gestures — the desired gesture can be selected from an extensive library, or simply be drawn on a mobile or tablet screen and then edited. And they don’t need to collect reams of data in order to train the software to recognize the gestures; the Motion Gestures system artificially generates data.
What’s more, the technology allows for the gestures to be recognized by a variety of motion, touch and vision (camera) sensors. The software can be embedded in a chip, or deployed via the cloud or a networking gateway or hub.
“We really focused on taking the pain out for developing gesture recognition,” Kahn says.
Kahn and Abghari have known each other for about 15 years, and work with three others from an office in the new Catalyst137 complex in Kitchener.
Kahn bills himself as “Mr. Outside,” taking on roles such as business development and raising capital. Abghari is “Mr. Inside,” focused on product and technology development.
Last year, they quietly raised US$1.65 million in seed funding, led by the China Canada Angels Alliance, with participation from the Golden Triangle Angel Network, Keiretsu Forum and Propel(x).
Now they’re working on a Series A investment round to support global sales and marketing, and discussions for partnerships and investment are underway with major Japanese and Chinese firms, the pair said.
“Gesture recognition is the new frontier of human machine interaction,” China Canada Angels Alliance vice-president Alan Yang says in a news release. “We are very impressed with Motion Gestures’ platform’s ability to popularize and demystify gesture interaction.”
To generate interest, the company is offering the software development kit for free to developers, who would then pay for commercial use of the platform.
While Motion Gestures has global ambitions, it is in Waterloo by choice.
Talent is close at hand within a strong ecosystem, operating costs are significantly lower than in Silicon Valley, and there’s a sense of camaraderie and loyalty among their team, Kahn and Abghari say.
“As gesture recognition enters the mainstream, we want to be a company that plays an important role, possibly the leading role,” Kahn says. “We want to be a dominant player.”
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