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Bristol spin-out awarded £600,000 to develop haptic technology

A leading developer of technology that uses ultrasound to create tactile sensations in mid-air has been awarded £600,000 to advance the haptics system.  The new investment, led by IP Group plc (LSE: IPO) and one of its managed funds, will allow the Bristol-based company, Ultrahaptics, to expand its software team and accelerate product development and customer engagement.

Ultrahaptics has developed a unique technology that brings back the sense of touch to touchless interfaces by feeling without touching.  The system uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can feel touchless buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

The company’s ultrasonic haptic technology will be licensed into various markets including consumer electronics, household appliances and the car industry. The company already has several leading businesses enrolled onto its evaluation programme.

Mark Reilly, Head of Technology at IP Group, said: “Ultrahaptics has created a unique technology with the potential to transform the user experience of increasingly prevalent touchless interfaces. IP Group is excited to be participating in the company’s development and growth.”

Tom Carter, CTO at Ultrahaptics, added: “The Ultrahaptics evaluation programme launch has received a very warm reception from those within the industry. A lot of interest has been registered from several blue-chip organisations and the additional funding will help us to meet the needs of our customers.”

Ultrahaptics is a University of Bristol spin-out company based on research developed by Professor Sriram Subramanian’s Bristol Interaction and Graphics (BIG) group in the Department of Computer Science.

The company’s early commercialisation efforts were supported by the University’s Research and Enterprise Development team and funded from the University’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account. Following the team winning last year’s New Enterprise Competition, the company was set up and has since received support and advice from the Bristol SETsquared Centre – the University’s double award-winning business incubator.

Next year, January 2015, Ultrahaptics will feature in Eureka Park at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company will be in booth #75619, Tech West, Sands Convention Centre.


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