> Ultraleap

Powering the interface of the future

No controllers. No wearables. No touchscreens. We’re replacing them with something better. Our technology tracks the position of your hand in mid-air, and projects tactile sensations onto it using focused ultrasound. You can reach out and interact naturally in virtual reality. Use self-serve kiosks without touching them. Control car infotainment with a wave of your hand.

Ultraleap is a classic university spin-off success story. We were founded based on haptic technology invented at the University of Bristol – technology that controls ultrasound to create the sensation of touch in mid-air. Today, we have two core technologies. We’ve added world-leading hand tracking to our original haptic technology. This accurately tracks the position of your hand movements in mid-air.

These two technologies mean you can interact without touching or holding any device. You can “push” in mid-air to activate a virtual or on-screen button – and feel that button as you do so.

Both our technologies are world-leading innovations in their own right – we’ve got over 150 patents for haptics and over 200 for tracking. We’re also a catalyst for other innovators.

One of the fundamental limits of technology is how humans can interact with it – how easily, how naturally, how safely. We’re breaking down those limits by allowing people to interact directly with the digital world, using only their hands. This, in turn, is powering innovation in automotive design, gaming, enterprise applications such as CAD, digital marketing and self-serve kiosks.

Headset and chip manufacturers such as Varjo and Qualcomm are embedding our technology in VR and AR headsets, making interaction in games and other applications more accessible and intuitive. Car manufacturers such as the French firm PSA have replaced touchscreens with our technology. You can change a music track or adjust climate control with a wave of your hand – and without taking your eyes off the road.

We also power touchless interaction with the screens in our daily lives – train station ticket machines, airport check-in, supermarket self-checkouts, digital advertising.

Concerns about hygiene and touchscreens aren’t new – but the coronavirus pandemic has sharpened everyone’s sense of the risks of touching surfaces that thousands of people have touched before.

In 2020, we pivoted from touchless interfaces being a small part of our business to a major pillar. We worked with Skoda and LEGO on interactive advertising and launched major pilots with retailers and manufacturers. It’s also not just about hygiene. Once agencies and brands start developing with our technology, they realise that not being limited to the interactions afforded by 2D screens allows them to innovate in user experience.

Bristol’s dynamic combination of world-class academic research, a solid engineering base, a vibrant creative sector and an attractive lifestyle has powered our growth. Today, we’ve got over 150 highly skilled, multidisciplinary staff, a second office in Silicon Valley – and we’re still growing rapidly.

We’re able to attract a diverse mix of world-class researchers in acoustics and computer vision, highly skilled software and hardware engineers, and designers, artists and developers. This diverse team are creating technology that will change the way everyone, everywhere interacts with machines – and powering the next wave of human potential.

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