36Kr has learned that Intelligent Haptronic Solutions Inc. (IHS), an intelligent haptic technology platform, has got ten-million series Angel+ and strategic funding. The investors include Shanghai Laimu Electronics Co., Ltd. (603633), Shenzhen Luyou Venture Capital Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Yuanzhen Value Investment Development Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Hongxiu Venture Capital Company Limited, and angel investor Gesheng Fei. The funding will go towards research, manufacture, team expansion, and so on.
Founded in late 2017, IHS has been focusing on intelligent haptic technology and its development and applications. The applications of intelligent haptic technology can be divided into three layers: perceptual, manipulative, and interactive. For the perceptual layer that collects and analyzes precise tactile data and the manipulative layer that realizes precise control through sensors and executors, the haptic sensor is the focus of competition. The core competitiveness of IHS lies, on the other hand, in the interactive layer, which gives users a realistic haptic perception in a virtual environment through external terminals.
IHS has achieved competitiveness thanks to the deep integration of haptic force feedback, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence as well as the modularization of its products, which can be applied to diverse terminals. To be specific, IHS can build haptic models on objects and interactions through algorithms, thus presenting tactile digital rendering of both soft and rigid objects. Haptic perception, simulation, feedback, and interaction with the maximum 7 DOF can be realized, bringing realistic and subtle haptic feedback and virtual interaction experiences.
Unlike the research-oriented haptic technology research institutes, IHS has been emphasizing the commercial applications of intelligent haptic technology. On this dimension, IHS has started with the digestive endoscopy training simulator to apply intelligent haptic technology.
In the surgical training scenario, modeling human organs and lesions by its system is at the core of the haptic virtual interaction technology of IHS as it combines haptic modeling and visual rendering. A deep integration of the haptic terminal’s haptic rendering and the visual rendering in virtual reality is thus achieved.
Take the digestive system, for example. Different physical properties of the stomach, intestines, esophagus, and other organs can bring different haptic interaction experiences. The digestive endoscopy training simulator of IHS can provide detailed and digitally calibrated haptic modeling of each organ and lesion while compensating for elements such as friction and system energy in real time through haptic control algorithms. By doing so, it recreates the haptic sensations during surgery, such as contacts and collisions between surgical instruments and human tissues.
The surgical simulators of IHS can therefore simulate the extremely subtle and complex haptic sensations during surgery for users, so they can efficiently build muscle memory for training purposes.
To this day, IHS has cooperated with over twenty grade a tertiary hospitals including Shenzhen Hospital of Southern Medical University, Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, and Shenzhen University General Hospital. More than ten surgical simulators have been delivered, including the type that simulates gastroscopy, colonoscopy and bronchoscopy in one. Over thirty additional simulators are currently in the process of pre-delivery, with a total order value of nearly 30 million yuan.
Meanwhile, IHS is also exploring more possibilities for the applications of haptic interaction technology. IHS has partnered Bosch and Shanghai Laimu Electronics Co., Ltd. (603633) to explore the potential of haptic technology, extended reality (XR), and artificial intelligence (AI) in the automotive industry. This partnership aims to enable virtual research and design and optimize techniques, including the assembly, manufacturing, inspection, and maintenance processes.
IHS has also stepped into the game metaverse that allows for more imagination. It has signed technical cooperation agreements with Microsoft, ByteDance’s PICO initially, and will subsequently explore the applications of haptic technology in games and other interactive scenarios.
IHS has an international team of senior technical and marketing experts from China and Canada. With its dual centers in Shenzhen, China and Vancouver, Canada, IHS has the ability to independently research and develop a full-stack solution and own intellectual property rights in hardware, software, 3D modeling and AI algorithms. Zhouming Tang, founder and CEO of IHS, obtained his MASc in Mechatronic Systems Engineering from Simon Fraser University, with a focus on medical robotics and haptics. Before founding IHS, he was a senior silicon architecture verification engineer at Microchip with over 7 years of system design and validation experience. He has been focusing on medical robotics and haptic simulation since early 2007, and has obtained several patents in China and abroad, as well as published several research papers in international journals.
Comments from Investors:
Gesheng Fei, Angel Investor:
We all know that touch is one of the five basic human senses, and that intelligent haptic devices are indispensable and fundamental to the development of metaverse. However, intelligent haptic technology has received less attention compared to intelligent visual technology (machine vision technology). Building on more than ten years of hard work on haptic feedback and human-machine interaction technology by the entrepreneurial team, Intelligent Haptronic Solutions Inc. (IHS) has created a unique “Intelligent Haptics+” technology platform. As IHS’s first product, the digestive endoscopy training simulator has solved a pain point for medical training and has secured tens of millions of yuan orders in 2022 alone. With specialized surgical training as a stepping stone, IHS will expand its business further into surgical planning and surgical robots within the medical industry. IHS is also seeking to expand the industrial applications of the “Intelligent Haptics+” technology platform in the automotive and game industries. I expect IHS to become the pioneer and leader in intelligent haptics and human-machine interaction technology.
Jing Liu, Director and CFO of Shanghai Laimu Electronics Co., Ltd.:
IHS has a leading intelligent haptic technology platform. Its core competitiveness lies in its integration of haptic feedback and interaction technology in three major subsystems: haptic terminals, virtual reality, and AI cloud platform. Therefore, it can provide total haptic solutions as well as hardware technical modules and software SDKs. This platform can realize the haptic-visual virtual interaction with high precision in real time. It presents the viral metaverse concept uniquely and brings the development of XR (extended reality) to a whole new level. IHS’s haptic technology platform has a very promising market prospect. The digestive endoscopy training simulator has been a successful product in the medical metaverse, which has also been commercialized. It has also built the industrial-grade versatile haptic robot for the industrial metaverse. With its 7-DOF haptic terminals, it can be applied in virtual design, assembly, and maintenance. I believe it will make great contributions to the precision instrument and manufacturing industries. I expect that IHS will soon be one of the most valuable companies in the field of the metaverse and human-machine interaction.