What was the motivation behind the foundation of tofmotion?
The three entrepreneurs Dr. Robert Hranitzky, Dr. Christian N. Neufeld and Franz Duregger used their expertise and life experience in order to develop this idea. The founders’ personalities, their motto “we believe in motion,” their confidence in the technological potential and the company itself, all combined and gave them the opportunity to shape and implement an innovation out of a simple idea.
Why is tofmotion so important?
“We give machines eyes,” is what we we like to say to our customers so as to make our technology and products more tangible. As the supplier of the world’s first industrial safety-certified 3D time-of-flight camera, we provide the first step into a genuine and safe human-machine collaboration. “Our mindset is trust in motion. The equal evolution of humans and machines,” our mission statement goes further. Our skills and competencies are accompanied by a creative and positive attitude. For that reason, it was particularly important to us to support this year’s ARS Electronica Festival in Linz with our spotguard application for robot monitoring. “Out of the Box” was the theme and, in this context, that meant getting out of our comfort zone in order to let real innovation take place.
What is the technology behind tofmotion?
In its development, tofmotion relies on the so-called Time-of-Flight (flashLIDAR) technology. ToF is often confused with the current LIDAR technology. A LIDAR scanner scans one line at a time of its environment. You could compare that with the field of vision that a medieval knight’s helmet has which shows the limits of that technology. Our cameras transmit several flashes, a cloud of lightning, as it were. This enables us to measure the light transmission time for each individual pixel and to transmit a 3-dimensional image of what’s happening in real time.
What makes tofmotion different from the competition?
We are daring. If a new technology is used, the first thoughts will often be how to replace the existing one. That is not what we are thinking. Of course, we want to retain the existing benefits for our customers, but we also want to support them in understanding the technology and discovering its potential. We not only have the ability to innovate, but also the patience and perseverance to do that.
Technically we do a lot of things differently, so we can also call ourselves a global front runner. We are the only ones to offer an industrial safety-certified and the fastest ToF camera on the market. We have thereby created the basis for genuine autonomy. On top of that, we are constantly investing in the further development of our products; a bridge to ongoing operations that not every start-up is able to build on.
What has been the biggest obstacle along the way?
To be honest, possibly due to our age and experience, there was no obstacle.
Was there a point when tofmotion almost didn’t take off?
No, never. From the very beginning, we were aware that real innovation takes a comparatively long time in order to gain entry into existing systems and products. There are dry spells, as with any foundation, but not setting it up would not have been an option. There was far too much confidence in the technology and in ourselves.
What has been the most rewarding moment?
There have been so many, it’s hard to decide. The founding of tofmotion, the Austria Wirtschaftservice (aws) seed funding, our first customer, the first employees to have the first cameras with an industrial safety certification on the market, the nomination for the Phoenix Award and so on. But actually the most wonderful part is to come to work every day, to win people over to our vision, along with their joy in realizing it together with us.
What does the future hold for tofmotion?
Our clear aim is to become the world market leader for industrial safety-oriented applications. To this end, we will continue to develop our application portfolio in our target industries of robotics, autonomous transport and logistics. And we want to help shape this future; we want to increase people’s confidence in human-machine collaboration, not only by providing machines with eyes and putting more and more intelligence into our cameras. Just by simply living our mindset, we see this as an invaluable contribution:
Our mindset is trust in motion. The equal evolution of humans and machines. We contribute to a mutual trust by letting each other be seen, complementing humans with artificial intelligence and our understanding that technology incorporates nature as it is co-created by humans.
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