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Ultrahaptics is a touchless haptics company that produces technology enabling users to feel touch feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touchless buttons get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

Although giant tech companies have continued  to increase its investment in VR and AR technology looking to make digital objects interact with the user seemingly becoming real, more so progress have been quite not what it should be to make them feel real.

Ultrahaptics is working on a technology that uses ultrasound waves to construct 3D objects in the air that users can feel. The startup is looking to use this tech to build “touchless interfaces” that go beyond conventional hand-tracking, allowing users to flip invisible switches and turn dials mid-air while feeling haptic feedback so they can tell when they’re completing an action.

The company based in Bristol, England announced that it has acquired $23 million (£17.9 million) in a Series B round of funding. Dolby Family Ventures, Woodford Investment Management, Cornes and the IP Group took part in the round. An estimate of $40 million has been raised by Ultrahapics to date.

Interesting initiatives have been shown by the company concerning virtual reality input, but another one of the main areas they’re currently seeking customers is in the automotive space, where they’re working with partners to bring Ultrahaptics tech into the dashboards of cars so drivers can control interfaces with hand gestures. While it’s pretty clear that the company is still in the early stages of finding use cases for its tech, it’s definitely an interesting solution to some tired problems.

While technologies like hand-tracking have been the augmented reality control input, one of its biggest issues is the lack of haptic feedback. Ultrahaptics hopes that their solution can meet some of the needs of the VR and AR industries, whether it’s by attaching a device to a headset or keeping it as more of a on the table experience.

Currently the company has made available a Touch development kit for developers looking to build on their ultrasound platform.

Ultrahaptics is looking to ship an update this quarter that gives devolopers a collection of sensations to integrated into their various interface

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