Tencent is looking to invest in a British company called Ultraleap. Very recently, Ultraleap announced officially that the company had completed a D round of financing of almost USD 82 million. This round was jointly led by Tencent, British Patient Capital, and China Merchants Bank.
Notably, Tencent has also made an investment in the Meta Universe. Earlier this year, there were a few rumors around Tencent planning to invest USD 50 million into Ultraleap. From the looks of it, almost every major company is looking to invest in Ultraleap.
Ultraleap is a merger of the British company Ultrahaptics and the American company Leap Motion, and the company’s main focus is on hand tracking and airborne tactile technology. Interestingly, Meta had also announced tactile gloves that allow its users to experience virtual touch without actually touching any physical object. However, Ultraleap’s tactile gloves are different from Meta’s in that the ones from Ultraleap do not require the user to wear any equipment to achieve the same experience.
The users can experience virtual touch with their bare hands using only ultrasound. The gloves from Ultraleap are called “Strato Inspire”. Back in 2017 when the company released its demo, the founder Tom Carter was very skeptical about the gloves making people feel very subtle touch. However, Carter also believes that the same technology could be applied in the automotive industry.
The gloves are made up of a lot of small ultrasonic speakers arranged on its body, and it uses algorithms to trigger these speakers within a certain time difference so that the speakers converge at a certain point in the air. Ultraleap uses hand tracking technology so that this point falls on the human hand.
When it comes to applying this technology to the automotive scenario, Ultraleap is looking to combine ultrasonic sensing and voice technology, allowing the drivers to operate navigation in the air without having to move their eyes from the road ahead.
Very recently, Ultraleap launched the fifth generation hand-tracking software called Gemini which supports Windows systems, and its support for macOS and Linux will be available later on.
Earlier Tencent had invested in Roblox, and Epic Games. According to the China Public Cloud Market Data for the Second Quarter of 2021, the company ranks second in China in terms of market share.