Lofelt, a Berlin-based startup that is developing 'next-generation' haptic technology for use in a range of products -- including gaming, AR, VR, automobile, consumer electronics, toys, medical, and entertainment -- has raised $5.4 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Wolfman.One, with participation from Q Venture Partners, Coparion, and previous backer Horizons Ventures.
Lofelt describes its mission as wanting to "create a natural connection between people and their digital devices" via improved haptic feedback tech, and argues that until now the technology hasn't benefited from the same pace of innovation seen in screen and audio technologies. To address this, the company has created a hardware and software platform designed to let companies add haptic features to their products and which takes the tech's utility beyond gaming or mobile phones.
It is also the startup behind the rather left-field Basslet, a watch-styled "subwoofer" that vibrates to create a sub bass-like sensation for an improved audio experience when coupled with headphones. That proved an interesting use of Lofelt's tech but as a standalone product our very own Brian Heater came away unconvinced.
"Whilst conventional actuator companies like ALPS, Precision Microdrives, AAC Technologies only produce hardware, Lofelt is the only company delivering the complete hardware, software and user-experience solution, ready for mass-production," a spokesperson for the startup tells me.
"Lofelt’s technology offers three distinct advantages compared to other solutions: Our actuators are completely silent, the audio-driven concept drives our actuators over a wide frequency band, producing ultra-realistic haptic feedback, [and our] software is designed in conjunction with our hardware, resulting in optimum power, control and efficiency".
As a result, Lofelt’s haptic solution for gaming & VR can be integrated without the need for additional developer support. "It delivers rich and realistic haptics with all games, movies and music out of the box," says the company.
Meanwhile, Lofelt says it will use the additional financing to invest in expanding its Berlin-based engineering team to accelerate development of new user experiences and technologies. It isn't disclosing which companies are using its tech, except to say that the startup is in talks with some of the leaders in the gaming, VR/AR, mobile, music and automative industries. In addition, the company is developing an academic program, which already has participation from four unnamed major Universities.
Adds Daniel Büttner, co-founder and CEO of Lofelt, in a statement: “In the near future, Lofelt’s technology will allow the use of high-definition touch feedback to deliver truly natural sensory interactions between people and their devices. We don’t see this as being limited to just smartphones and gaming, but instead will become prevalent across nearly all industries. We are on a mission to prove that haptics complete the audio-visual experience and our investment will be the vehicle for making this vision a reality".
This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.