This case study follows Nautilus Beam and the development of their first product Tusi, a ground-breaking design-driven interface which will enable users to input text easily via smart watch screens.
Nautilus Beam was formed at a Design in Action Technology Accelerator Chiasma, a innovative, design-led, ideation workshop that brought together scientists and academics from the University of Dundee with new entrepreneurs, users and designers to develop and create IP around Digital Imaging, with grant-funding available to the best ideas. Nautilus Beam, consisting of a technologist with a PhD in linguistics, two MBA business leaders and three designers in product, UX and interface respectively, emerged as the overall winners, walking away with a £30,000 Intellectual Property Office award to build their first proof of concept.
Dr Tim Willis, focused on building algorithms for expanding abbreviated input into full text. His initial research was aimed at users with motor disabilities but he recognised the potential wider application for all touchscreen users. He created an Android app to double productivity on touchscreens with his Flexpansion Fast Forward Typing, which had exceptional word prediction and autocorrect, and uniquely enabled users to expand any reasonable abbreviation into full text. His app received 60,000+ downloads, excellent reviews and highly positive ratings (4.8 out of 5 for Flexpansion Pro, 4.3 Flexpansion Free).
“A Must Have” “Most user-friendly” “Absolutely Love It”
During Chiasma, the team looked to develop this technology and came up with an innovative text interface, in order to allow smart watch owners to type on their watches.
As well as the initial IPO funding, Tusi also received business advice and mentoring from Design in Action’s Business Partnership Manager Brian McNicoll, patent support of the technology from the University of Dundee and desk space and equipment from Edinburgh College of Art. The team initially showcased Tusi at the Scottish Design Summit in May 2015 and intend to display at other UK innovation and tech events.
Although the technology is still in the development phase, the team has already successfully secured two further financial awards; a Scottish EDGE Wildcard investment prize of £10,000, and an RSE fellowship providing Dr. Willis with a salary for 12 months and intensive entrepreneurial training.