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Motorola reveals Sensitive side

Blind Type develops an interface for typing on virtual QWERTY keyboards, which claims to allow for super sloppy typing, or typing without looking at the screen

US vendor Motorola has invested in Sensitive Object, a French firm that specialises in ‘natural user interface’ (NUI) solutions. Through its VC arm Motorola Ventures, the US manufacturer has taken an undisclosed stake in Sensitive Object, parting with an undisclosed sum for the privilege. Some reports have suggested Motorola has acquired the company completely.

Sensitive Object is a six year-old firm with “a patent-protected technology capable of “tactilizing” any surface,” Motorola said in a statement. “This unique software technology leverages acoustics to analyse sound waves departing from the point of a touch to precisely and cost-effectively transform any product into a touch device,” the statement read.

“Natural user interface (NUI) and in particular interacting with a device through touch is an area of rapid development and great excitement,” said Reese Schroeder, managing director, Motorola Ventures. “Sensitive Object provides an innovative and unique approach allowing new ways of interaction. We’re most excited to be involved in their growth and success.

Gavin Byrne, a handset market specialist at research firm Informa Telecoms & Media said Motorola’s decision was “a shrewd move.” He continued: “Sensitive Object’s haptic-based touch technology could allow Motorola to deliver touch and gesture recognition to a wide variety of device form factors, not just touchscreen devices. Importantly it should also mean that touch and gesture recognition will become available even in lower cost devices.”

Motorola’s handset business has long been in decline but a recent commitment to Android might be bringing something of a turnaround. The device sold as the Droid in the US, soon to be launched in Europe as the Milestone, appears to be selling well and is winning plaudits for its technical performance.

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