Redux ST
  • Google acquired Cambridge-based startup Redux ST which developed advanced haptic technology.
  • An in-person demo of the company’s technology made me feel as if I was handling physical buttons.
  • Redux ST also developed technology that played sound using a smartphone’s screen as a speaker.

LONDON — Google has quietly acquired a small British startup that has developed advanced haptic feedback technology which makes flat glass screens feel like real, physical buttons, and also plays music through the screen itself.

Bloomberg first reported that Redux ST had been acquired on January 11, although it seems that the deal took place in August 2017.

Redux ST’s technology is an interesting fit for Google, and could be used in its Pixel smartphones and ChromeBook laptops, or even in its self-driving cars.

I met with Redux ST at the Mobile World Congress technology conference in Barcelona in early 2017, before Google acquired the startup. I sat on a bed in a cramped, hot, hotel room with three Redux ST employees who showed me two devices they had developed.

The main device was a large touchscreen on a shelf. It looked like an Android tablet but much bulkier and with large bezels at the sides. This device showcased Redux ST’s advanced haptics.

Redux ST’s technology made it feel like I was actually pressing buttons, rotating dials, and moving puzzle pieces around. The screen remained flat, but the vibration behind it tricked my fingers into feeling three-dimensional buttons that weren’t really there.

It was like a more impressive version of the Home button technology Apple used on iPhone (before the iPhone X). There was a circle in the bezel that you applied pressure on to close apps, but it didn’t depress like an actual button. Instead, Apple used vibrations to fool you into thinking you pressed a button.

Redux ST’s device had a series Read More Here