North Carolina tech startup Gematouch turns any printable material into a touch interface for smartphones, offering instant communication and content delivery capabilities through the user’s smartphone and an unique RFID system so tiny it can be embedded in a printed page.
Turn Printed Pages Into Interactive Content
I talked with co-founder Brent Fagg in the American Tobacco Campus about the possible uses for Gematouch. There are pretty much endless applications for the interaction of printed promo and smartphone capabilities. Users could be able to place their smartphones on a Gematouch-enabled concert ticket to get the band’s Pandora station or Spotify mix. Flip through a magazine, see the Herbal Essences shampoo is no longer discontinued, get a coupon and and immediately order it by the case. (Wait, maybe that’s just me.) Students could answer quiz questions or access video lessons on their phone with Gematouch pages in their textbooks.
Gematouch has a patent on the NFC hardware, and also develops software to combine branded content with Gematouch capabilities.
Right now, the costs of Gemetech’s hardware is around $1.40 per page, which makes it too pricey for a local band to give song demos through Gematouch fliers. But it’s a modest price for an interactive poster, for example, at a local bar or coffee shop.
One of Gemetouch’s software possibilities is an ongoing location-based game. A player might visit a local bar, play a trivia game on a Gemetouch-enabled poster, and get an in-game reward for his success… at least until the next patron comes along and knocks his score off the leader board. A player might need to visit a specific location, a Starbucks for example, to get a resource for a trading game or a power-up in an adventure game. Think FourSquare and becoming a mayor, only with a lot more interaction than just a check-in.
I checked out a working prototype of a possible Gematouch product, an interactive menu. Diners would be able to order from their phones, and the menu app could suggest add-ons, possible drinks pairing, and alert customers to sold-out items. Your smartphone — like a good waiter at the local pub — would remember the name of that great beer you had last time. With Field Trip for hidden local gems, StickNFind to find my keys, and a Gemetouch app to remember the name of that great beer I got last time, my smartphone is getting smarter.