$2.5m seed round for Sydney sensor maker

University of NSW Sydney robotics spin-off company Contactile has announced a US$2.5m (A$3.5m) seed round, led by True Ventures, headquartered in Silicon Valley.

The UNSW founder, Radar Ventures and Flying Fox Ventures also participated in the increase, which was first reported by the robotics-world.com website.

True Ventures’ portfolio includes Fitbit, Ring and Peloton.

Contact Was found by Dr. Heba Khamis, Benjamin Xia and Dr. Stephen Redmond in late 2018, after the trio collaborated on sensors, work that began in 2014.

The sensor system, named PapillArray, is inspired by the human sense of touch and fits on a gripping surface such as an effector robot. The pads interpret light changes made inside each silicone pillar in an array, converting them into 3D force, torque, slip and friction information.

“The core technology is sensors, and we produce sensors that can be demonstrated on a two-finger gripper,” Khamis told robotics-world.com.

“But these sensors can be mounted on a three-, four-, or five-finger gripper, or it can be a fully functional hand. It is very versatile and adapts to different form factors.

Contactile manufactures and sells touch sensors and software development kits, with early adopters in university research groups.

Khamis recently participated in the “Game changers – manufacturers are redefining their industries” web event, hosted by @AuManufacturing and MYOB. It can be viewed here.

Photo: Contactile

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Author: Brent Balinsky

Brent is co-founder and editor of @AuManufacturing.