Cambridge Touch Technologies, a University of Cambridge spinout that’s commercializing 3D multitouch technology, today announced the recent closure of a $10 million series B funding round led by Kureha Corporation, bringing the startup’s total raised to nearly $20 million. Parkwalk also participated in the new round, as did a raft of other investors, including Downing Ventures, CM Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, Puhua Capital, and Futaba Corporation.
Cofounder and CEO Corbin Church says the cash infusion will fuel the commercial rollout of Cambridge Touch Technologies’ products and the expansion of its teams in the U.K., China, Taiwan, and soon Japan. Furthermore, he expects the relationship with Kureha will strengthen the company’s supply chain and create new options for high-volume clients.
“We’re delighted to welcome our new corporate and VC investors from Japan and China, as well as having the continued strong support of our existing investors, who together form a world-class group that will help scale Cambridge Touch Technologies quickly to exploit the market opportunity for its technology. Cambridge Touch Technologies has grown rapidly over the last several years, and we’re looking forward to being able to continue executing on our growth plan and sharpening our commercialization focus within the consumer electronics, automotive, and industrial markets. The partners we have and the injection of new capital means we can expect to enable our customers to begin rolling out the technology at scale in the near future.”
The company’s solution — UltraTouch — sits on or above device displays and registers touch from bare fingers, gloved fingers, and styluses — even when wet or underwater. A single piezoelectric-based sensor — a film that creates an electrical charge when mechanically stressed — and transparent electrodes handle force and capacitive location-sensing without the need for external components, thanks in part to an AI engine that can sense both touch and force signals on the same electrodes. It’s fully compatible with OLED and LCD conventional or bezel-less flat, curved, foldable, and flexible displays, Cambridge Touch Technologies says, and can even power toggle the screen to which it’s attached.
Cambridge Touch Technologies isn’t the first to market with futuristic display-bound control schemes. U.K.-based Redux, which was acquired by Google last January, pioneered feedback technology that adds audio to off-the-shelf touchscreens and enables the sensation of physical keys. Tanvas’ TanvasTouch technology, the fruit of research conducted at the Neuroscience and Robotics Lab at Northwestern University, physically pulls at fingertips like an electromagnet as they move across the screen. And several years ago, Bosch demoed a concept convertible featuring a haptic touchscreen that generated the feel of real buttons.
But Cambridge Touch Technologies isn’t just targeting the consumer electronics market. It says it has developed engineering samples of its tech for customers in a range of markets, among them automotive, industrial, and defense.
“As the leading global supplier of Piezoelectric film, Kureha Corporation has worked closely with Cambridge Touch Technologies over recent years, bringing our substantial resources and R&D capabilities to our joint collaboration and developing the most advanced piezoelectric film for the touch panel market now and into the future,” said Kureha president and CEO Yutaka Kobayashi. “It was only natural, therefore, for us to lead the series B round with a direct investment and become shareholders in the company. The alignment between the two companies is strong. We look forward to playing an important role in Cambridge Touch Technologies’ continued success and bright future.”