23. August 2023

Jens Hansen: An Interview With the Real Life Doc Brown

Dipl.-Ing. Jens Hansen was the idea man behind the technology of Sensit! and conceptualized it at the age of 75. When he and Benjamin met, that vision grew into a successful company. Jens recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and to mark this special occasion we took the opportunity to interview him about the beginnings of Sensit! and how he came up with the idea.

Hello Jens! Please introduce yourself.

Jens Hansen (80 years) finished university and then worked as an electrical engineer at Bosch Blaupunkt in the field of basic development.

“I am Jens Hansen. I’m coming up on 80 years of age. I finished university and then worked as an electrical engineer at Bosch Blaupunkt in the field of basic development, or rather, pre-development.

I worked there for many years. At some point, I decided to become self-employed. And eventually, in collaboration with my colleagues, I founded this company, which was then called Feelbelt.”

How did you come up with the idea to make content tangible through haptic feedback?

“Feelbelt, and this is the key point, was deeply intertwined with a topic that is close to my heart. As I’ve mentioned, coming from Blaupunkt, I had a lot of exposure to music and everything surrounding it. That’s where my love for music began.

And then the idea popped into my head to enhance the emotion that a piece of music aims to convey. And now I get to the core idea of how this is possible. This can only be achieved through a tactile transfer of the music to the skin. You don’t just hear the music, you also feel it.

Feelbelt was deeply intertwined with a topic that is close to Jens´ heart: music and everything surrounding it.

This leads to an incredibly intense emotional experience that cannot be achieved by any other means. This enhancement in emotion excites me so much that even if I had no contact with the market, I would have continued to develop it just for myself.”

Click here to find out more about the Feelbelt.

How did you come into contact with Benjamin (Sensit! CEO)?

“A colleague mentioned me to Benjamin, which is how our connection was established. He was interested in branching out from the banking sector. A bank is essentially a service company. And here, he can genuinely build a company. It’s a world of difference.

And in one area, where I’m not so good, Benjamin greatly surpasses me. That’s why we work so well together. There’s a lot of formality involved. Benjamin understands the market; he knows how to deal with customers, draft contracts, and how to approach them.

When I think about the contacts he has in America, it would be impossible for me. Well, I might manage it. I mean, when I was self-employed and didn’t yet have Benjamin, I visited Japan several times, spoke to companies there, and also in America and China.

So, I’m not completely unfamiliar with this. But it always required a certain drive, from booking flight tickets to reserving hotels, and so on. It’s just not my thing. Honestly.”

We like to call you our Gyro Gearlosse. How do you feel about that?

“Really? I love this casual interaction between us, where everyone uses informal addresses. You can always, and it’s a compliment for me, call me “Daniel Düsentrieb” (German equivalent for “Gyro Gearloose”).”

You originally developed the Feelbelt for music. What do you personally associate with music?

“I play several instruments. I started with the trumpet, then guitar, and I also took some piano lessons. I actively played, back in the day in a jazz band. And I composed a bit myself. But as my professional commitments grew, my musical endeavors waned. I just didn’t have the time anymore.

However, music is deeply rooted in me. Today, almost every young person carries earbuds or headphones. Music has an incomparably greater significance than during my youth.”


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Interview with Jens Hansen

You contributed to the development of Bluetooth technology. How did that come about?

“This somewhat ties into my work at Bosch. Naturally, I had to deal with everything related to transmission and reception. Bluetooth is particularly attractive because it serves the short-range segment. Bluetooth is also a standard feature in many of our products.

How does it feel for you to know that Bluetooth is standard today?

“You get used to it. I don’t even know which products still contain technology I’ve contributed to. I don’t want to keep track anymore. The future is what matters to me.

I want to be involved for at least another ten years. I kind of follow the example of the American president. Biden wants to keep pushing. In short, while the past is nice, my heart belongs to the future.”

What goal do you still want to achieve?

“The main focus is advancing this tactile transmission, where music takes precedence for me. I want to feel it intensely, but it shouldn’t be disruptive. That’s such a small difference. It must be pleasant. Try connecting auditory language with the language of feelings.

I want to feel soft musical notes but also strong bass impulses. I want those too! And that’s the core challenge in tactile music transmission. I can achieve an emotional enhancement only when what is felt aligns 100% with what is heard. And I’m not out of ideas yet. I just want to say that the topic is far from being exhausted.”