Google Buys UK Audio Startup Redux

Cambridge-based Redux bought by Google

Cambridge-based Redux bought by Google

United Kingdom startup Redux had developed a way to use vibrations in a surface - such as a touchscreen display - to emit sound, thus allowing the device to do away with a dedicated speaker, Bloomberg reports.

The US tech giant snapped up Cambridge firm Redux which can turn screens into speakers using haptic feedback.

It is not clear when one of Alphabet's Irish subsidiaries acquired the startup, but it was confirmed on December 13 according to United Kingdom regulatory filings.

Bloomberg said a Google spokesperson declined to comment, but it's thought Alphabet could use Redux's engineering capacity to improve the quality of sound on its handsets.

Promotion via the social media accounts of the company ended in April 2017 and in July Google employees were made directors, says City AM. The company had 178 granted patents, according to its LinkedIn page.

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Redux tech can turn a device display into a speaker, which would eliminate the need for speakers in small devices like smartphones and open up that space for other features. In August, Google acquired the company for an undisclosed amount.

"Redux has developed breakthrough technology which transforms the user experience by bringing surfaces to life with Sound and Touch", it said in an "about us" section of the company.

So far, Redux has only been able to use its technologies inside PCs and some auto infotainment systems - but that could be about to change.

Redux specialised in transforming any surface into a speaker and Google purchased the company late previous year.

Apple's Taptic Engine has not been recreated in a mainstream Android phone so far, but this technology could be Google's key to doing exactly this. At the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas this week, Google is heavily promoting its voice-controlled speakers that compete with Amazon.com Inc.'s Echo device.

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