Google secretly bought a British tech startup called Redux, which is working on a technology that aims to turn surfaces into speakers, according to a Bloomberg report on Thursday.
Founded in Cambridge in 2013 and led by Nedko Ivanov, Redux is aiming to develop products and systems that “enable customisable, high-resolution haptic feedback and speakerless surround sound audio,” according to the company’s Crunchbase profile.
A report from IBTimes last April said that Redux had achieved a “bending wave” breakthrough that meant it could turn a smartphone screen into one big speaker. At the time, the company said its technology could replace traditional smartphone speakers in as little as two years, freeing up more space for batteries, processors, and other components.
Being a smartphone manufacturer, it’s easy to see why Google might be interested in Redux’s technology.
Redux tech turns the screen into a speaker, and a haptic surface. Trying it out here. The sound is actually coming from the screen. pic.twitter.com/VPAi6TzKk9
— Stan Schroeder (@franticnews) February 28, 2017
Backed with at least $US5 million (£4 million) from the likes of venture capital firm Arie Capital and comprising less than 50 employees, Redux was formed after HiWave (formerly NXT) went into administration, according to a New Electronics report from September 2016.
“We can turn the screen into a high quality loudspeaker, eliminating the need for an embedded speaker,” Ivanov told New Electronics in an interview. “When it comes to mobile phones, we are not only saving valuable real estate and creating a waterproof housing, we are eliminating the need for additional speaker holes and most importantly, improving the audio quality.”
Redux’s LinkedIn page states that the company has 178 patents to its name.
It’s unclear when Google acquired the company or how much it paid for the business but filings with Companies House show that Redux shares were transferred to Google on December 13.
Google declined to comment.