KUALA LUMPUR, 24 AUGUST 2009 Two young Malaysia-based entrepreneurs have won awards for the design and build of their multi-touch screen called Smart Surface.
Smart Surface's co-founders, Faysal Abdulaziz (managing director) and Homam Alghorani (executive director) said the product was envisioned during their student days at APIIT (Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology), where they became interested in multi-touch technology and related natural computer interfacing.
The first prototype was designed and built at the beginning of 2009 when, in February, an entrepreneur offered the two aforementioned developers to co-form a company and fund their research, said Abdulaziz.
Smart Surface is completely designed and built in Malaysia, said Abdulaziz, who added that the product was launched commercially in May 2009, during the 20th ITEX09 [International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition] exhibition held in Kuala Lumpur.
During ITEX09, which was organised by MINDS (Malaysian, Invention & Design Society) and the ministry of science, technology and innovation, the product won two awards for Best Invention Corporate Category, and the ITEX Gold Medal Award.
Pioneering use of the LCD screen
The company focuses on research and development of in-house multi-touch hardware and software solutions, said Abdulaziz. As far as we know, another Malaysian provider of a similar product, Kreateevee, uses rear projection technology for display with diffused infra-red (IR) illumination for movement detection.
We do use this technology in some of our early models, but we also are the pioneers in exploring the use of the LCD screen for display technology, instead of rear-projection, as well as LASER [light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation] detection technology, instead of IR illumination, he said. Therefore, Smart Surface is the only company that has a full range of multi-touch and surface computer application technologies [rear-projection, LCD display, LASER recognition technology, tabletop and vertical walls].
Smart Surface has already been in commercial use by many companies, he added. That means we are technologically ahead in term of solving the many problems associated with any commercial use of the product. For example, for rear-projection technology, we achieved a tabletop display size ratio to the external dimensions of the top of the table of almost 1:1.
It is noteworthy that some of our clients, such as British American Tobacco and Cool Merchant Connections had already approached other local companies that offered multi-touch technology, he added. However, they opted to use Smart Surface products after they compared all technological aspects.
Regarding future developments, he said: We have already spoken with APIIT for cooperation through internships for students who will learn firsthand about our multi-touch technology and its applications. This will enrich the academic field of multi-touch research in Malaysia.
We also have ongoing discussions with the Centre for Research & Innovation Management at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, for possible cooperation on developing suitable applications for them, said Abdulaziz.
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