The Immersion of Touch
Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ: IMMR) is jumping straight to the forefront of immersive virtual reality (VR).
By creating haptic technologies, or technologies having to do with the sense of touch, they are gaining a stranglehold on a critical part of the virtual reality experience.
This small company realized that a truly immersive VR future will involve the sense of touch. And they are mining this vein before other companies get there. In fact, they already have 3,000 issued or pending patents. When VR is ready for its next level of immersion, this company will already have the technologies necessary to make this leap. And they will be able to charge companies who intend to use these technologies.
Even though VR isn’t quite mainstream yet, Immersion Corporation has already managed to established a model for profitability. Since its IPO in 1999. Immersion Corporation has grown to $110.3 million in revenue annually. Even with competition from Tactical Haptics, Sixense, and Senseg. Most recently, the company signed a license agreement with Preh, a top supplier of human machine interface solutions. The plan being to incorporate haptics into automotive surfaces.
They have already done significant work providing the haptic feedback in today’s Samsung smartphones. Plus they have provided a Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow developers to add the sense of touch in their mobile games and ads. This is likely why Immersion’s “Mobility” business has tended to drive the strongest growth in recent years.
Be warned, haptic immersion is likely far off for a broad consumer market. Perhaps haptic technologies could have an audience in training and government settings sooner rather than later. But given Immersion’s existing real-world applications of its products, it is already light-years ahead of many of the companies we have our eyes on for VR/AR and Mixed Reality .