Ultrahaptics announced a “strategic deal” with hand tracking company Leap Motion to combine their startups and technologies.
The Wall Street Journal reports Ultrahaptics bought the company for around $10 million.
The combination of the two means Ultrahaptics will have tracking and haptic technologies to provide a sense of touch in certain types of products. Ultrahaptics “projects ultrasound-drive tactile sensations onto users’ hands” while Leap Motion tracks the movements of the fingers. Some location-based VR experiences, like The VOID, use this kind of hand tracking for impactful immersive effects. We’ll be curious to see if, Leap Motion combined with Ultrahaptics, we might see more ambient immersive effects integrated into various entertainment or education initiatives.
Leap Motion made an early impact in the developer and early adopter community with its USB-connected sensor which could provide hand tracking without the need for a handheld controller. Though it received many software upgrades over the years which improved performance and interaction quality, Leap Motion’s input approach never saw widespread adoption. Some head-mounted displays include USB ports which can connect to Leap Motion sensors for integrated hand tracking. The consolidation of the two companies makes some strategic sense as the first VR and AR headsets haven’t integrated either technology yet into the core of their platforms.
We’re also curious what this might mean for Project North Star. The open source AR headset effort backed by Leap Motion includes instructions on how to build a wide field of view AR device with integrated hand tracking. We’ll provide updates as we learn more.