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12/3/2009
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Motorola Invests In Multitouch Company

The investment in Sensitive Object could eventually lead to Motorola handsets with stronger touch interfaces.

In a move that could lead to more intuitive interfaces on its devices, Motorola has invested an unspecified amount in the multitouch company Sensitive Object.

Sensitive Object specializes in bringing a touch user interface to a wide variety of devices including mobile phones, computers, and laptops. The prevailing technologies for touch right now are either capacitive or resistive technologies, but Sensitive Object takes a different approach by utilizing software to analyze the sound waves that depart from the point of touch.

The company said this "acoustic tactilization" could enable the next generation of user interfaces that include multitouch, virtual controls, and natural 3-D controls. Sensitive Object also said its approach can provide these touch controls at a lower cost and higher performance than other technologies.

"Natural user interface and in particular interacting with a device through touch is an area of rapid development and great excitement," said Reese Schroder, managing director of Motorola Ventures, in a statement. "Sensitive Object provides an innovative and unique approach allowing new ways of interaction."

The investment was made by Motorola Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, and it indicated the software will eventually make its way to Motorola phones. The company's handset division has been struggling mightily over the last few years, but it is in the middle of a comeback attempt based around smartphones powered by Android. Motorola just released the high-profile Droid smartphone, and the handset is on pace to sell nearly a million units by the end of the year.

Multitouch is quickly becoming an appealing feature in the smartphone world, and it is featured prominently in top-tier devices like the Palm Pre, Apple iPhone 3GS, and the BlackBerry Storm 2. The technology is also slowly permeating into other devices, as Microsoft's Windows 7 offers full multitouch support out of the box.

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