Google has quietly acquired a UK-based company named Redux which has developed a technology that uses vibrations to turn surfaces of phones or tablets into speakers or provide haptic feedback.
While it is not clear when the acquisition took place, some reports indicate that the acquisition happened in August last year. According to the regulatory filings in December 2017, all the stock held by investors and employees was transferred to Google in early September.
The financial details related to the acquisition remains undisclosed. Founded in 2013, Redux, which focused on markets including computing, mobile, automotive and industrial controls, had raised $5 million funding in March last year from Arie Capital.
According to the company, its technology eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, which frees up space for batteries or other components. Further, the company claims that it had been granted 178 patents and over 50 pending patents.
Redux’s website has been taken down. A cached version of the website reveals that the firm was working on “panel audio” which turns a screen into a speaker. The company was also working on a so-called haptic feedback.
While it is unclear why Google acquired Redux, there are lots of potential uses of Redux’s technology for Alphabet — the parent company of Google. The company has recently started selling its own smartphones, and the engineering talent from Redux could help the company develop devices with better sound.
Redux’s technology could also be used create haptic feedback — which allows users to carry out different tasks on current smartphones by applying different pressure to the screen.