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Pacinian showcases products in Vegas

‘Haptic’ technology used on screens, pads

For almost two years Spokane tech startup Pacinian Corp. has been mostly keeping its plans under cover.

But that changed during last week’s four-day Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In its first official visit to CES, company managers showcased touchscreens, touchpads and transparent screens using Pacinian’s patented “haptic” touch technology.

Incorporated two years ago, Pacinian’s technology adds more realistic touch-response to pads, sensors or device screens. Unlike other touchscreens where a touch moves a part of the screen sideways or hardly at all, the haptic screen pushes in with some resistance, then “snaps” inward a fraction of a millimeter. Then it springs back, making the touch more natural, said Mike Levin, Pacinian’s vice president of business development.

The screens or pads displayed during CES 2010 ranged in size from 4 inches to 17 inches diagonally.

Still housed in the downtown Sirti building, Pacinian has so far signed just one deal with an unnamed, large customer. Levin said that customer has not released its first product using the haptic touch system.

The CES swarm of company reps visiting Pacinian’s booth came from makers of cell phones, home energy and security system controllers, automotive products, consumer entertainment devices and e-book readers.

“Three of the five major cell phone companies are evaluating our product,” Levin said. “Two we were already working with; we picked up that new one in Las Vegas.”

Another area of interest came from companies designing touch-responsive screens for entertainment systems for the seatbacks of commercial airliners, Levin said.

Coming out of “stealth mode” occurred shortly after the Pacinian haptic system was patented.

The company has created a set of projects and product evaluations with “five to 10” different potential customers, Levin said.

The next step is to identify the right deals.

“There are so many opportunities in a lot of different areas. But at this moment we are opportunity-driven,” Levin said.

“Being a tech company, we are not actually selling any specific product,” Levin said. “We can improve the usability of any product that relies on touch.”

To contact reporter Tom Sowa, email him at

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