Senseg, a specialist in next-generation haptic technology, has announced that NXP Semiconductors has led a new $6 million investment round in the company. The investment will enable the company to develop the first high-fidelity haptic solution for smartphones, and helps solidify NXP’s leadership in new interface technologies. The recent investment round also includes existing Senseg investors Ambient Sound Investments and Finnvera Venture Capital.
Senseg is focused on a next-generation haptic solution that will be small enough and inexpensive enough to penetrate the high-volume smartphone market, and subsequently other markets like portable gaming, navigation and in-vehicle controls.
The company’s electrostatic technology is completely software controllable and combines patented technologies that deliver tactile effects for touch interface devices in a solid-state solution with no mechanical vibration. The technology improves responsiveness, eliminates unwanted sound, and minimises power use.
Senseg’s solution literally enables a “feelscreen” experience, in which users feel precise edges and texture effects on smooth glass touch interfaces to convey meaning and increase user engagement. The technology represents a new tactile vocabulary for existing applications and enables a new class of applications designed specifically for tactile effects. The Senseg technology is scalable from small to large devices with no increase in manufacturing complexity making it ideal for smartphone, tablet and automotive use cases.
“Senseg first showed the world the promise of next-generation haptics just a few years ago. Now we are set to deliver on this promise. We have focused our R&D on the smartphone market, which requires smaller chip architectures, and more time to properly develop. Senseg has also taken time to find the right investment partner with which to develop this solution and now we have this partner in NXP Semiconductors,” said Paul Costigan, CEO of Senseg. “There are many markets that we believe would benefit from Senseg’s solution, from large-screen displays to tablet devices to automotive and healthcare devices. However, the greatest immediate opportunity for our feelscreen technology is in the smartphone market, and producing a chipset that can be implemented into today’s devices requires focused engineering and more investment. Now, we can execute our plan to deliver the first next-generation haptic silicon that meets the requirements of the smartphone market.”
“In our view, new user interface technologies will continue to be a key innovation area in smart phones, tablets and automotive applications in the coming years. Senseg has developed a very exciting solution to add touch sensations – such as feeling precise locations, textures and edges – to standard touch screen displays. Most user interfaces today focus on our visual and hearing senses, and not on touch, so that is why we see this as a great new opportunity for growth,” said Mark Hamersma, General Manager Emerging Businesses at NXP. “We see many high-value opportunities for this technology, not just in mobile, but also in automotive, where drivers need to keep their eyes on the road.”