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Ultrahaptics, Which Gives Feel to Virtual Objects, Expands into the United States

Ultrahaptics, an interface start-up that aims to replace touchscreens with the wave of a hand, opened its first office in the United States. The new office is located in Palo Alto, California.

The company’s headcount has grown to 79 since it was founded with three employees based in the United Kingdom in 2013. The hiring has been fueled by the $39.7 million that it has raised in venture capital. It raised $23.4 million in a funding round that closed in May.

Ultrahaptics uses focused ultrasound to give the sensation that you are touching virtual objects in midair with your bare hands. The sensors can be used as an interface for virtual and augmented reality devices, which usually employ gloves laced with motion sensors or controllers to move virtual objects.

Alex Driskill-Smith, Ultrahaptics vice president for North America, said that the firm plans to hire engineering, sales, and marketing staff for the new Silicon Valley outpost. The company said in a statement that it would benefit from closer proximity to its virtual reality customers.

"So many of our customers are based there, especially in the VR and AR space, a market which has been extremely receptive to our haptic solutions,” said Ultrahaptics chief executive, Steve Cliffe, in a statement. He added that "it’s great to see the team growing as we expand into new regions.”

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