For the latest installment in our blog series, we’re featuring one of Lofelt’s newest additions, Rémi Laoubi. Rémi is one of our Business Development Managers and came to us as a leader in the haptics field and has hit the ground running. Besides contributing to our business strategy, Rémi has been initiating talks with gaming leaders and also using his expertise to ensure consistent haptic motor quality throughout the manufacturing process. We’ve also heard he likes snacks. We hope you enjoy getting to know Rémi as much as we have over the past few months.
Hey Rémi! You’re one of the newest members of Lofelt - how have your first few months been?
Quite intense, in fact! A lot of different topics to catch up on from manufacturing to business development. Since I started two months ago, I can already see a lot of changes and progress.
Could you tell us what you’re currently working on at Lofelt?
Right now, I have two areas of focus: ensuring Lofelt actuators are consistently produced at the same high standard of quality our customers and partners have come to expect over the past few years. And, second - to provide support on business development.
You have worked in the haptics industry for a bit - could you tell us about your past work experience and what got you interested in the field?
What I particularly like about the field of haptics is that it’s still not widely known, and there is a lot to discover and explore in the field, which makes it very exciting! Unlike optics, with various screen technologies being widespread (such as LCD without optical bonding, OLED, 3D, 4D), industries are just beginning to introduce haptics into consumer devices (outside of the smartphone and gaming industries). High-definition haptics is another matter entirely, and the Razer Nari Ultimate with Lofelt Wave technology has just raised the bar for high-quality haptics.
From your perspective, what has changed in the field since you first started?
When I first started working in the field, even 3 years ago, haptics was something nice to have but not essential. Everyone was stuck in a solution designed 30 years ago. As my new colleague Charles puts it, it’s as if we’re watching 8K movies on a black and white TV from the 60’s - it’s only cool and retro in Berlin. The Razer Nari Ultimate with Lofelt haptics gave a jolt to the market and now competitors don’t want to miss their opportunity. It would be similar to a company like Kodak missing DSLR (Digital single-Lens Reflex) adoption, for example. So, because of this, we’re now seeing a pull in the market for integrating Lofelt technology from the fast-growing gaming market to companies making everyday consumer products.
Where do you see the haptics industry going from here?
As you can imagine, this is only the beginning of the rise of HD haptic devices. This field remains pretty new, although it has been explored for years. Everyday, we are discovering new ways to transmit emotions and feelings through vibrations. We have several tactile receptors which can all be triggered in different ways. To keep going with the TV analogy, it is now possible to view 3D movies without 3D glasses, which was quite difficult to imagine a few years ago. In the same way, tomorrow, your everyday devices will be providing you with haptic feedback. Those that don’t will be quickly outdated. From my point of view, the gaming industry will seize the opportunity first and the smartphone market will soon follow, as these two become more intertwined and connected. Be prepared for the rise of an interactive environment!
As someone who came to Lofelt as an insider and expert in the field, could you describe the first time you tried Lofelt haptics? What did it feel like?
Lofelt haptics felt natural on the first try. Every device should have this feeling and it’s unclear why it isn’t already the case. Once you try it, you start imagining what becomes possible with it, and question how far this technology can go in recreating realistic sensations. It prompted me to think if one day we’ll be unable to feel the difference between the real and the virtual.
One of the first things you’ve done since arriving at Lofelt is to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Could you tell us a bit about what you were doing there?
GDC in SF was a great opportunity to meet with stakeholders from the gaming industry. As a start-up, Lofelt is always seeking information and additional expertise held by industry insiders, as we are always looking to improve our approach within the industry. We believe that the gaming industry is ready for HD haptics and, in fact, many game studios were asking us when it will be available for their customers. There is a strong need for the studios to make the gaming experience more immersive. On top of this, the Google announcement about Stadia added an element of excitement for everyone. The gaming market is exponential, and the arrival of cloud game platforms will only accelerate this trend.
What is most challenging about your role so far?
Restraining myself from eating all the snacks! More seriously, Lofelt gives a lot of room for learning and empowerment, enabling us to take responsibility for our different tasks and topics we’re interested in.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Lofelt?
The skilled and diverse team, as well as the flexibility. My colleagues come from everywhere - both professionally and geographically - which makes it an amazing and interesting workplace. Also, did I mention the snacks already?
What goals do you have for yourself at Lofelt?
I’m a team player, so chalking up more wins as a company is also a victory for me. I am looking forward to having Lofelt haptics more widely-available and in a variety of products from key players in the industry, with my team providing support on the technical and business sides.
If you could switch jobs with anyone else in the company, who would it be and why?
I think it would be with Daniel, as he is at the crux of everything and central for all domains of the company. It would also be helpful to realize how much less pressure I have when going back to my position!
We know you’ve only been here a short time, but could you tell us about your favorite Lofelt moment so far?
One of the best moments so far was actually the day before I started in the office. I was invited to a company gathering and everyone was showing their recent work, including exciting developments on both the technical and business sides.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Creative, honest, curious.
Where are you from originally? And, how long have you been in Berlin?
I’m originally from a city in the Alps in France, and recently just moved back to Berlin. I lived here three years ago for about 6 months.
What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends in Berlin?
I am looking forward to summer and checking out the lakes listed in the welcome gift given to me my first day at Lofelt.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a “bandes dessinées” (comics artist). Perhaps one day!
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I like the feeling that I’ve reached the “end of the world,” and there is nothing further, or past where you currently are. This might be on the very end of Taiwan's east coast, or up North on Rügen island in Germany, for example.
Thank you for reading - watch this space for the next interview!