UK-based company Ultrahaptics and Leap Motion are rebranding into Ultraleap. The new Ultraleap corporate brand represents a major step for the combined group following Ultrahaptics’ May acquisition of Leap Motion. The single new company name is meant to reflect the company’s dual roots and the shared heritage of the two companies.
The new company is looking to develop advanced XR interfaces. Leap Motion, an optical finger-tracking software company announced its new merger with the haptics company Ultrahaptics in May this year. A report on Wall Street Journal stated that Ultrahaptics had purchased Leap Motion’s patents as well as staff for an estimated $30 million.
Ultrahaptics was founded in 2014 and the company specializes in providing simulations of haptics for digital objects. Ultrahaptics has been funded to the tune of $85 million.
Before its acquisition of Leap Motion, Ultrahaptics was better known for its mid-air haptic technology. It makes use of ultrasound to project tactile sensations onto a user’s hands. Leap Motion has developed an eponymous optical hand-tracking software module along with an underlying software. Before its $30 million acquisition by Ultrahaptics in May this year, the company developed the open-source augmented reality headset Project North Star.
A press statement released following the rebranding stated that both Leap Motion and Ultrahaptics will continue maintaining the trademarks for their existing products but all the new hardware and software products will be launched under the Ultraleap brand name.
Ultrahaptics and now Ultraleap is still committed to using its technology in various industries including advertising, simulation, automotive, training and AR/VR.
Ultraleap has already licensed its technology to some of the leading industry players such as Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire by The Void. It has also been showcased in concept cars that were developed by Bosch and Harman.
Founded in 2010, Leap Motion has raised more than $95 million from investors ever since. The company originally wanted to build a computer mouse with an optical tracking camera for both hand and finger-tracking but its technology wasn’t precise enough for practical purposes. Subsequently, the company switched to XR finger-tracking but here, too, the company failed to see traction due to low uptake.
With the acquisition and subsequent rebranding, the two companies are embarking on a journey to develop and usher in advanced XR interfaces that offer more than just finger-tracking (previously, Leap Motion forte) and touch effects in the air (the Ultrahaptics service).
The digital and virtual worlds are already undergoing transformation thanks to the spatial computers and natural interfaces. These technologies are empowering end users in very extraordinary ways. They pave the path to a future where technology will be “more human” and computer performance will be more accessible at the users’ fingertips.
Both virtual touch and hand-tracking are important building blocks for the movement towards advanced XR interfaces.
The Leap Motion controllers will still be sold under its old name and there are improvements to the platform and tracking that are in the works. A new website for the new brand is also coming up. A microsite is already online. Ultraleap currently has more than 100 employees who are working on its new XR interface.