Leap Motion, which made manual systems for virtual and augmented reality headsets, is reportedly taken over by haptic company UltraHaptics. The Wall Street Journal reported the news earlier today, saying that San Francisco-based Leap Motion had agreed to sell for approximately $ 30 million.
That is a fraction of Leap Motion & # 39; s appraisal of $ 306 million at the height of its hype in 2013. But it is comparable to a figure that Apple supposedly discussed during a never completed acquisition last year. The diary reports that UltraHaptics will receive the patents from Leap Motion and will hire most of its staff, with the exception of CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald, who is reportedly leaving the company.
UltraHaptics is not a big name like Apple, but it is a fairly obvious fit for Leap Motion. The company uses ultrasound to create the illusion of touch in the air, and the Leap Motion controls can complement that to create a controller-free interface with tactile feedback. UltraHaptics already used Leap Motion technology.
Leap Motion started building a long-awaited consumer gesture controller. The device never broke through as a PC peripheral, but it came just in time to face a wave of interest in virtual and enhanced reality, and offered an early interface system for launching ubiquitous handheld motion trackers. While Leap Motion started licensing hardware and software for VR headsets, the company struggled to find a niche, and two possible deals with Apple reportedly fell. Last year it showed a design for a cheap Augmented Reality headset, known as Project North Star.
UltraHaptics focuses on collaboration with other companies to add hands-free haptic controls to items such as dashboard controls, information kiosks, smart home devices and VR systems.