NXP Semiconductors invests in haptic-feedback company Senseg

April 10, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Senseg, based in Finland, develops spatial haptic feedback technolgoy – using electrostatic techniques to add the “feel” of physical controls to surfaces such as smartphone and tablet screens. The company has announced that it has concluded a $6million round of financing in which NXP semiconductors is the lead investor.

NXP says that this is part of its drive to lead in new user interface technologies for mobile, consumer and automotive applications. Mark Hamersma, General Manager Emerging Businesses at NXP explains: “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 textures and contours – 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. 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.”

Senseg says that the investment will enable it to commercialise the first high-fidelity haptic solution for smartphones. The company is seeking software lead and Android application developers, particularly those with mobile game development experience, to help bring its initial product to market.

Established in 2006, Senseg brings a new dimension to user experience (UX) design by making touch screens tactile. Senseg’s patented electrostatic technology is completely software controllable and has no moving parts, which improves responsiveness, eliminates unwanted sound, and minimizes power use. Senseg’s solution is scalable from small to large devices with no increase in manufacturing complexity – ideal for smartphone, tablet and automotive use cases.

The Senseg solution enables a “feelscreen” experience, in which users feel precise locations, edges and textures on smooth glass touch interfaces, that convey meaning and increase user engagement. Senseg’s technology supports a new “tactile vocabulary” for existing applications and enables a new class of applications designed specifically for tactile effects. Founded in 2006, Senseg was initially created to pursue medical technology related to understanding electric fields and human sensory systems. Later that year, the company identified primitive