Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. reportedly has acquired Redux ST, a small United Kingdom -based startup that has developed haptics technology that turns smart device screens into sound speakers.
With the acquisition, Google now has an extra 178 patents under its belt, which it can use to enhance its future smartphone and other devices - perhaps even future Google Home hardware. On Redux CEO Nedko Ivanov's LinkedIn page, it shows that he left the company in August 2017.
On Wednesday night, a report revealed on Bloomberg quietly that Google acquisition of "Redux" could have major implications down the road. Not only does this mean that more advanced haptic feedback is possible, but the displays can also be used as speakers. The transfer of shares of Redux's holding company NVF Tech was confirmed by United Kingdom regulatory filings on 13 December, but Crunchbase says the deal happened in August.
Redux developed a number of technologies involving sound and touch in mobile devices, but never placed them in any major consumer products. Backed by investors including Arie Capital, Redux raised $5 million in March 2017, and concentrated on markets including computing, mobile, automotive and industrial controls.
Some of Redux's tech has already appeared in PCs and vehicle infotainment systems. The Verge had some hands-on time with the company's tech a year ago, trying out a tablet which vibrated its screen to function as a speaker, as well as a number of displays that used haptic feedback to mimic the feel of buttons, sliders, and dials. Just recently Wired wrote about how companies might use audio to transfer data, which may be part of Google's plan for Redux.
Google has made a concerted effort at CES to promote new features in its series of voice-controlled speakers.
Redux has demoed its technology on smartphone and tablet displays, in the past, and that very well may be Google Inc (GOOG)'s core intended use for this exciting technology.