Hand-tracking Pioneer Ultraleap Initiates Layoff Amid Major Restructuring

Ultraleap, a company renowned for its Leap Motion hand-tracking module, announced a potential restructuring that could lead to a split of the company into two separate entities. This rebranding occurred after Ultraleap acquired Leap Motion in 2019, which was a significant move that led to the company’s name change from Ultrahaptics to Ultraleap.

Prior to the acquisition, Ultraleap was primarily known for its pioneering work in mid-air haptic technology, a system that uses ultrasound to create tactile sensations on users’ hands without the need for physical contact. According to Sky News, Ultraleap is now considering selling off its hand-tracking business entirely and spinning out its mid-air haptics division into a new company owned by the existing shareholders.

The company has yet to officially confirm the sale of Leap Motion or the specifics regarding the restructuring of its haptics business. However, they have acknowledged plans for layoffs, stating that it is necessary for the company to adapt its business to better serve its market and customers.

The Leap Motion module was first introduced in 2013 and was one of the earliest viable hand-tracking devices to enter the market. Originally designed as an input method for PCs, the company later shifted its focus to the VR space, providing hand-tracking solutions for headsets lacking the feature.

However, the current market trend shows that many standalone headsets now incorporate their own onboard hand-tracking systems, due to the presence of optical sensors used for tracking the user in room-scale environments. As a result, bespoke modules like Leap Motion have become less desirable for consumers overall. Ultraleap is currently focusing on integrating its technology with niche headset manufacturers such as Varjo, Pimax, and Vrgineers.

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