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Haptic technology in connected cars | HARMAN

Bristol, UK – 21st February 2017. Mid-air touch-free haptics company, Ultrahaptics, has announced a collaboration with HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE: HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, to incorporate mid-air gesture haptic feedback technology into a range of infotainment and audio systems in cars. 

Ultrahaptics has developed a technology that uses ultrasound to project physical sensations onto the user’s bare hands. Without the need to wear gloves or hold special equipment, users can receive haptic feedback for gestures they perform in mid-air. This type of user-friendly gesture control can be used to operate infotainment systems, such as in-car audio and connected car applications, enabling drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

Connected car technology

HARMAN International is a global leader in connected car technology, lifestyle audio innovations, design and analytics, cloud services and IoT solutions. As the market leader in connected car solutions, there are more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with HARMAN’s connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security.

Haptic technology in cars

By using Ultrahaptics’ technology, HARMAN has developed an intuitive system that can control multiple in-vehicle systems, including audio infotainment functions. The system tracks the driver’s hand movements and gives mid-air haptic feedback for various gesture commands. Ultrahaptics and HARMAN worked together closely to design the unique solution that combines haptic sensations, gestural interfaces and HARMAN’s custom visual interactive graphical user interface (GUI). The system enables drivers to simply move their hands in the air and feel the controls to adjust their embedded infotainment system.

Driver safety and haptics

Speaking of the technology collaboration with Ultrahaptics, Stefan Marti, Vice President of Future Experience, of HARMAN said: ‘Driver safety is paramount as cars become more connected. The ability to track the user’s hand and give feedback for gesture commands reduces the mental load for infotainment controls, helping drivers to remain safe on the road. At HARMAN, we are always looking for ways to use new technology such as that from Ultrahaptics, to provide the best and safest solutions to our customers.’

Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultrahaptics, said: ‘We are incredibly excited to announce our relationship with HARMAN. Ultrahaptics has received phenomenal market pull from many industries, especially in areas where consumers are looking for a technology that will replace touchscreens for many interactions. Haptic feedback in mid-air with gesture recognition is proving to be a very attractive option. HARMAN are an ideal collaborator, as we continue to move towards a technology-driven future. Together, we expect to develop some truly outstanding products.’

About Ultrahaptics

Ultrahaptics is the world’s leading mid-air haptics company. The company has developed a unique technology that enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user’s hands, enabling users to ‘feel’ virtual buttons, get tactile feedback for mid-air gestures, or interact with virtual objects.


HARMAN designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and connected services.  With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. The Company’s software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $7.2 billion during the last 12 months ended December 31, 2016. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.


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