The concept of being able to feel and manipulate objects without touching is fast becoming a reality – and Ultrahaptics is at the forefront of this radical technology.
Founded in 2013 around intellectual property originally developed at the University of Bristol, Ultrahaptics is a young technology business that works to enable consumers to interact with electronic devices in a way never seen – or, in this case, felt – before.
The company’s core technology is a haptic feedback system that uses an array of ultrasonic transducers (devices which generate ultrasound vibrations) that create virtual shapes in the air – these can take various forms, such as buttons, sliders and dials, allowing the user to influence the product into which the technology is embedded, be it a car stereo, a gaming device or a household appliance. The haptics technology offers an improvement to the existing, fast-growing market of gesture recognition.
We were introduced to Ultrahaptics by IP Group, which is also a shareholder of the business. The company joined the Woodford Patient Capital Trust’s portfolio in October 2015.
Investment case summary
We invested in Ultrahaptics attracted by the substantial commercial potential of its technology and by the vision and experience of its management team. We have been impressed by how quickly the business has moved from proof of concept through the product development and evaluation stages, now reaching the point of signing contracts for its technology.
The company has also developed a Touch Development Kit, which enables customers to evaluate, experiment with and develop their own mid-air haptics. This represents a great source of business development leads, which is expanding the addressable market and should ultimately strengthen the growth outlook for Ultrahaptics.
The total market opportunity for the company’s mid-air haptic technology is extensive as it can become ubiquitous across a number of industries including gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, automotive, household appliances and consumer electronics. Ultrahaptics already has an array of commercial partners such as Nike, Dell, Intel, Harman International, Bosch and IBM, while it also has over 45 academic partners, including the University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo, Stanford University and MIT. In April 2018, the company received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category.
|Patient Capital Trust||0.79%|
As at 31 March 2019
Aggregated portfolio weight across more than one line of stock.