Storage Hardware

Crowdsourcing Innovation: Dacken Lee, Co-Founder of Tagtel

Crowdfunding sites are offering a new path for inventors with original ideas. We talk to inventors looking to gain the public’s favour with something new to offer. Is this a business of the future?

dackenName: Dacken Lee

Job title: Sales & Marketing Director (Co-Founder)

Organisation: Tagtal

Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, China


Product:  Tagtal tStylus Smart Digitial Dropper & OSP (On-Screen Port) Technology


What it does & how it works:

Tagtal’s revolutionary OSP technology lets data exchange happen directly on the surface of your screen. It generates a virtual data port which can be activated on any point of the screen and used for exchanging data with the outside world. With the tStylus you can pick up or drop down local data such as Hi-Res pictures, text, videos, voices or even Apps in the cloud at any point on any screen. All the manipulation on the digital object is seamless, combining with natural movement of your hand, so you can easily interact with multiple screens and move around digital objects everywhere intuitively.

The touch screen is used as a channel to exchange data, e.g. URL.  The touch screen sends out the URL by blinking the screen and the stylus receives and stores the URL for next time use. The stylus generates a series of touch events encoding the URL on the touch screen, and in the meantime the host will receive all the touch events and decode the URL. And then the host device may download and render the content from the URL. Besides URL, other small data such as, color, password etc. can also be transmitted. Since all data transmission is done on screen we call it 'On-Screen Port', OSP.

What makes it special:

Tagtal tStylus is the first digital dropper which can be used to pick up and drop down data on the surface of screen like a chemical dropper. What’s more, this is not just another stylus but an innovation of the next generation of human computer interaction. The OSP technology lets us pick up, hold and drop digital data as real matters. A dream from science fiction we have imagined for years come into reality.

What’s your background, and what inspired you to come up with the idea?

Before this project, I have experience of embedded system development and project management. Then I shifted to sales and marketing field and worked at Global Sources and Huntkey for years.

For many, many years we can only see, click or touch the visualized data on screen but you can never take it out or drop in data just right on screen. The data is contained in a box with a glass front panel (called as display) the only way to get the data out/in is to press a button to “send or receive” it from one place to another. 

How can we interact with digital object (over the screen) intuitively as we do with real physical object in real world? How can I possibly pick up the drawings I just created on the screen of a tablet and post it to somewhere else, as like it’s real, like what we are doing every day? These questions lead us to this new technology.

Why IndieGoGo?

IndieGoGo is an international crowd funding site where we can attract attention worldwide. As a Chinese startup, we don’t have big budget supporting R&D, we don’t have efficient channels for spreading this innovative technology to the world, so IndieGoGo is probably the best place for us. We can raise some money, spread the word and collect feedback from the market, it’s quite good.

Is Crowdfunding good for innovation? How so?

Most people have the desire to be engaged with innovation, same as they like science fiction films. Crowdfunding just provides them with a good platform to join in and support the project. None of them need to pay too much money but can make their dream become reality. And most of the sponsors really need funding to support them doing innovative work. Crowdfunding meets both sides of the requirement, it is a great win-win solution. I think this is the reason that you find lots of innovative projects get launched at IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.

What were the reactions of people on Indiegogo?

The reaction is very good! Even though the video played only around 2800 times during the campaign, we got 74 pre-orders. The funders gave us positive comments, and that is really encouraging, that some of them care about how it works and data security. More than 45 different media outlets exposed our breakthrough OSP technology and innovative product.

You received quite a lot of press for your idea, why do you think you didn’t make your goal?

We activated the campaign on July 5, but the media didn’t report on us until early August, and most of the time has passed. There are few projects from China, and some people have negative impressions about Chinese projects, so people need time to know our project and know Tagtal team. I think above two points are the main reason for why we didn’t make our goal.


What was the hardest part of developing the tStylus?

This is a brand new product, a combination of hardware and software; we can’t find similar product to learn from, we can’t even find material and document describing this on-screen communication technology to guide us. The challenge we were facing at that time is we have to explore/try all new things by the experimental approach step by step.

Why has this sort of technology not appeared before?

Some teams have been working on this sort of project for years, they approached another ways to make similar applications, but OSP technology gives the best user experience. The main reason comes from two aspects: the core technology of touch screen is quite confidential, so it slows the development down for long time. But nowadays, the standardization and popularization of mobile device and networks provides a better environment for new technology research.

What sort of situations do you foresee people using the tStylus for?

The first group of users will come from painters who use stylus for drawing, the Tagtal tStylus can not only be used as capacitive stylus but also lets users share and draw the digital content in intuitive way. They can also lock or unlock private information with tStylus that the identification is stored in. Adobe’s new strategy about Creative Cloud and Project Mighty (a similar product) implies something for our big plan.

Possible business use?

OSP technology takes human-machine interaction into next level, it lets users operate digital content as real matter; you can easily interact with computer intuitively on surface of screen. tStylus is the first product powered by OSP technology, with the development of OSP integration and optimization, the next generation of product could be tGlove, tFinger and even without any device.

For business use, OSP can be integrated with mobile devices to provide better interaction experience; brand new user experiences will be applied for high-end digital exhibition and digital meeting system; OSP tech also provides new method of digital authorization and better multi-screen interaction game experience.

Aims for the future?

We’re going to open OSP API for developers, they can create their own Apps or add unique features to existing Apps or devices. For general purpose, we will make the standard of OSP by standardizing Universal On-Screen Port and make it open for the entire industry. And we plan to design more software and hardware supporting UOSP.



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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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