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Ultrahaptics is awarded £10.1 million funding to expand globally

03 November 2015

A leading developer of technology that uses ultrasound to create tactile sensations in mid-air has been awarded £10.1 million to grow its business globally.

Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultrahaptics, with Tom Carter, its chief technology officer (photo: Ultrahaptics)

The new investment, led by Woodford Investment Management, will allow Bristol-based Ultrahaptics to work with manufacturers in different markets as well as reaching new markets and customers.

Ultrahaptics, a spin-out company based on research developed at the University of Bristol by PhD student Tom Carter, 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, revolutionising how people interact with computers, automobiles and consumer goods. Users can feel touchless buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

The start-up company’s ultrasonic haptic technology is being 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.

"The company is engaged with Tier 1 manufacturers in multiple markets and the investment from Woodford Investment Management will allow us to fulfil this demand and address additional markets and customers," says Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultrahaptics. "Our technology completes gesture control by re-introducing the sense of touch."

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. Ultrahaptics joined the Bristol SETsquared Centre - the University's award-winning business incubator - hot on the heels of winning the University's New Enterprise Competition two years ago.

"We have been involved with Ultrahaptics from the very beginning and have been delighted with both the technical and commercial progress achieved to date," adds Mark Reilly of existing shareholder IP Group plc. "We are extremely excited to participate in this Series A funding and the company’s continued development."

DPA has more information about Ultrahaptics and its projects here, here and here.

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