Sometime last year, Google quietly acquired a U.K. startup doing rather interesting work with sound, including a new type of speaker and haptic feedback. This technology has interesting ramifications and possible uses in Google’s consumer lineup.

As revealed by Bloomberg, Redux is based in Cambridge and was founded in 2013 with 178 patents granted. In March of last year, it raised $5 million in funding, with Crunchbase noting that the deal took place in August, with an Irish-based subsidiary of Google conducting the deal.

The company’s technology is focused on “Bending waves” to produce “advanced surface audio and haptics” and improve the user experience of various devices. “Panel audio,” through actuators, is touted as emitting “naturalistic wide-frequency-range audio” from a display without the need for conventional speakers. This could allow for numerous ways to save space within a compact mobile device.

However, the more interesting application of Redux’s technology is tactile feedback. It touts using “sophisticated signal processing algorithms” to create haptics at specific-touch-points.

Different effects can be delivered simultaneously to different fingers, using actuators to create bending waves rather than bulk movement. This needs only a few actuators, is energy-efficient and scalable.

It’s unclear how accurate the tech is, but it would be reminiscent of Apple’s Taptic Engine for generating similar haptics on phones, smartwatches, and laptops.

Google did not provide Bloomberg with any details, including purchasing price or other acquisition information. It’s also unclear whether Redux’s technology is actually intended for Google’s consumer hardware division.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: