Leap Motion, the pioneer in optical hand-tracking, has been acquired by Ultrahaptics, the enterprise-focused immersive haptics company.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ultrahaptics reportedly acquired Leap Motion for approximately $30 million.
The company maintains in a company blog post that the acquisition won’t affect support for the Leap Motion community, and that “new and exciting products” are coming down the bend.
Since its founding in 2011, Leap Motion has garnered over $94 million in outside funding. The latest round, amounting to $50 million, arrived in summer 2017.
Its flagship product, Leap Motion, struggled at first to find purchase in the PC peripheral market, although it decidedly found a home in VR among Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2-clad developers, making it a household name at least in the burgeoning niche. At the time of this writing, a Leap Motion tracker can be purchased for under $80 new.
It seemed Leap Motion was on a continuous upward trajectory, however it was reported late last year that Apple was actually on the verge of acquiring Leap Motion, but the deal fell through days before it was expected to close.
Undeterred, the company then went on to engineer its open-source AR headset, Project North Star. Leap Motion has since released plans for the headset, although it seems adoption among the dev community has been less than favorable.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ultrahaptics will receive Leap Motion’s patents and hire most of its staff. CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald will reportedly leave the company.
Leap Motion couches the acquisition as a “strategic deal,” which combines the two companies to create what they call a “vertically integrated technology company that brings us that much closer to fully immersive, rich and physically intuitive virtual interfaces.”
The marriage between the two companies makes a certain amount of sense, as Ultrahaptics produces enterprise-level haptic tech that’s based on ultrasonic emitters, which can serve up variable tactile sensations to a user in mid-air. Vertically integrating Leap Motion’s optical hand-tracking tech could push Ultrahaptics yet further down its path to becoming a bigger name in its target markets, including automotive, digital signage and location-based entertainment.