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22 July, 2010 - 12:35 By News Desk

Cambridge spin-out seeking £1m to democratise touch

Touchscreen on a mobile phone. Image via Wikipedia

Cambridge spin-out InputDynamics is seeking investment of £1m to fast track delivery of its software-only touchscreen technology and hit profitability within two and a half years.

The firm has just been awarded a Pathfinder Investment from Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation office, to continue the development of TouchDevice, its novel input solution for mobile phones.

TouchDevice has been designed to simulate a touchscreen in mid-tier mobile phones. The product is 100 per cent software driven as it relies on the acoustic signal produced by the user tapping on the display screen, the company’s proprietary algorithms, and existing handset hardware such as the on-board microphone and microprocessor, to deliver touchscreen functionality.   InputDynamics believes the success of smartphones has proved the desire for more effective and intuitive user interfaces and that this trend towards better ways of navigating menus and interacting with multimedia applications is now spreading down to feature phones, with touchscreen functionality increasingly becoming a ‘must have’ in this 'middling' market segment.    InputDynamics’ user interface (UI) is not limited to the display screen of a feature phone, as users can tap or swipe on the entirety of the handset casework, thus delivering intuitive and flexible ways for users to interface with devices and freeing designers from the limitations of conventional UIs, which are confined to keypads and touchscreens. InputDynamics hopes that many of these new methods of interacting with a feature phone will eventually migrate upwards into the smartphone market. The firm believes the technology will also prove attractive to handset manufacturers by extending the life of their investment in existing feature phones by retrofitting software-only touchscreen functionality.  Giovanni Bisutti, CEO of InputDynamics, said: “The latest support from Cambridge Enterprise demonstrates confidence in our exciting new approach for better interfacing with feature phones and smartphones.” The company says it is seeking to raise £1m to fast track the delivery of TouchDevice to the first handset manufacturer and take the company to profitability within the next 24-30 months, while giving investors “exceptional long-term opportunity for growth and profit.”

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