Interview with Mr. Black aka Michél Haese
Inventor & CEO of LAPSCREEN®
Michél had a colorful variety of education and work experience such as being a fisherman, a radio operator in the Navy, freelance photographer, founder of an advertising agency, graphic designer, and law student. He sees all this as a practical school on his way as becoming a philosopher. He has a creative mind and is the creator of LAPSCREEN®, a groundbreaking technology that moves towards a paperless future.
1. Could you tell us about LAPSCREEN®? What exactly it is?
When the Internet came out, it was clear to me that a big company will develop a portable office. A laptop on its own is not enough solution; a mobile office is a universal technology that makes it possible to work without restrictions on the location. My goal was to create an opportunity to work anywhere and anytime without having to go to the office. The idea wasn't about having access to technology all the time but rather the opposite: to allow people to work in convenient and comfortable environments such as in parks, on the beach, and generally away from office buildings.
LAPSCREEN® is a social project that gives the opportunity to people to work conveniently and efficiently.
Secondly, I wanted to write books, and I felt that this process could create a lonely and isolated environment, and I wanted to avoid that. I combined my two goals into one: I decided that I would start writing books once my portable office is ready and I have the freedom to write anywhere with access to the Internet and all the online tools that I may need. I came to China in 2011 to a "Global Sources Consumer Electronics Trade Fair" and looked for the best and latest technology of accessories such as keyboards, mouse, and monitors as the beginning of realizing my project. I planned to collect the best devices and combine them. But three points let me change my plan:
- No device had the quality I wished for: less material, more functions.
- Companies were impressed with my tips to improve their products but were not able to follow these tips because they believed more in quick money and worked with cheap products.
- In the past, I already realized a lot of ideas for myself, and people often wanted to have what I've created. Some of my ideas were realized by others and changed the world. I felt that this would happen in the future with the "Portable Office" too and to wait until someone else takes it to the market would be not advisable. So I decided, to focus on technology first, and write my books later.
At the "Global Sources Consumer Electronics Trade Fair" in 2011, I met Faytech; a company specialized in touchscreens. The owner - who was from Germany like me - invited me to his factory and gave me a table to work there on my product development. In this environment, it became my first target to develop a light screen, and after seven years the LAPSCREEN® is precisely that.
2. What problem LAPSCREEN® solves, and how did you recognize the need for this product?
China developed paper 2,000 years ago. It was the first time when visual communication became portable because before it was heavy, and awkward to carry big pieces of wood or heavy stones around.
Book printing was the second, massive development where the aim was to help the visualization of stories and objects. Paper and book printing is so important that they are together with black powder and the compass called "the four great inventions of China." Today, in the digital era we have many smart devices, and because we use too many of them, it is more and more challenging to manage them together, and most importantly process all the information we create with the devices. My vision for the future is only to have a mobile phone and many LAPSCREEN®s. It is not a monitor, but in my opinion, it is the paper of the future.
Seven years ago I developed the first LAPSCREEN®, and it was 1kg. I used as a second screen while traveling. In 2012 I came up with the name “LAPSCREEN®, and I participated with this as a journalist in the world’s largest computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover. From this time onwards it was clear to me that LAPSCREEN® used together with a mobile phone is the ideal office solution. My idea was to develop a light screen that is:
- the size of an A4 paper
- less than 500 gram
- width less than 1 cm.
Today with the 7th generation of LAPSCREEN® I feel that I am ready to take it to the market, and the production is starting in November 2018.
3. What challenges did you face as an inventor during the development of this product?
My primary challenge was and still is to protect LAPSCREEN® and to get to the point until I can get the product out to the market exactly how I want it. As I often say, "I did not want to make a Blackberry - which is just a good product. But I wanted to work on the development until I created evolution as it started with the iPhone." What I want to create is freedom where you don’t need to connect yourself with various systems.
Besides the actual product, I want to inspire people to develop systems and relationships where all elements can work together without having to micromanage them. I am not a businessman, but an artist. Of course, I have to act like a businessman to build my brand while I also want to satisfy my artistic expectations by creating my dream product and nothing less.
4. Aren't you scared about others copying your brand?
There are portable screens out there already, and I call them “island solutions” because they are all connected to specific usage. The specialty of LAPSCREEN® is that you can combine it with itself to a more extensive system of screens and connect it with any brand, and any device which has an output for screens. You can use and carry many LAPSCREEN®s similar to as you would have a couple of papers in a folder. The best way to look at LAPSCREEN® is as resembling paper.
5. How do you get the most out of your invention?
I don't have investors, and I am selling licenses; this might not be a conventional approach but workes for me. I am passionate about this project, and I want to see it succeed according to my plans. I accept that some of the companies I sell my license to will be faster with the development than I am, but the seven years I've spent with this product development means that I have a profound understanding of the topic with a lot of research.
LAPSCREEN® is a new product category and invites others to create their products under the license of the brand LAPSCREEN®. I am working on products that are top in their category and want to motivate everybody to do the same. LAPSCREEN® should become an open system of hardware like Wikipedia is an open system of knowledge. I am not interested in owning anything, and I believe that humanity has much more significant and better ways to progress than ownership of objects. To exist as a user of things is much more practical and the reality always gives an opportunity for new ideas and further development.