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Founded Year



Series D | Alive

Total Raised


About Novasentis

Novasentis, formerly Strategic Polymers, is a source of Electro-Mechanical Polymers and developer of thin actuators. The company is focused on designing, producing and delivering actuators to enable OEMs worldwide to deliver the most advanced multimodal user experience to customers. SPS actuators are designed to animate mobile devices with better haptics and sounds, enrich the user experience and make any device more intuitive, realistic and more attractive to end users.

Novasentis Headquarter Location

200 Innovation Boulevard Suite 237

State College, Pennsylvania, 16803,

United States


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Expert Collections containing Novasentis

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Novasentis is included in 1 Expert Collection, including Semiconductors, Chips, and Advanced Electronics.


Semiconductors, Chips, and Advanced Electronics

6,008 items

Companies in this collection develop everything from microprocessors to flash memory, integrated circuits specifically for quantum computing and artificial intelligence to OLED for displays, massive production fabs to circuit design firms, and everything in between.

Novasentis Patents

Novasentis has filed 21 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Actuators
  • Medical equipment
  • Audio engineering
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date


Related Topics




Fluid dynamics, Actuators, Medical equipment, Sensors, Fluid mechanics


Application Date


Grant Date



Related Topics

Fluid dynamics, Actuators, Medical equipment, Sensors, Fluid mechanics



Latest Novasentis News

Kemet’s CTO talks virtual reality

Jan 24, 2020

Kemet’s CTO talks virtual reality Kemet’s deep dive into haptic actuator technologies for VR and wearables began with its collaboration, and subsequent acquisition, of Novasentis By Gina Roos,editor-in-chief Kemet Corp. was acquired by Yageo Corp. in 2019, transforming the companies into a $3 billion interconnect, passive, andelectromechanical powerhouse in the electronics industry. The electronic components manufacturer, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, has been expanding its product portfolio over the past several years in order to grow and innovate for next-generation technologies. Historically, Kemet has been known as a major capacitor manufacturer for high-reliability applications, such as automotive, medical, military and aerospace, industrial, and telecom. But in recent years, the emergence of technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), 5G, automotive electrification, wearables, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), has led the company to expand beyond passive components to play a bigger role in these growing markets and to continue on a growth path. In order to enhance its market position, Kemet needed to develop new technologies and products. The company’s move into new component segments started in 2013 with its alliance with NEC Tokin, later acquiring the company in 2017. This gave Kemet entry into a range of new products and solutions, including temperature sensors, current sensors, piezoelectric actuators, current transformers, inductors, filters, and supercapacitors. One of those emerging technologies that Kemet had its eye on was haptics, or tactile feedback, which improves the user’s touch experience on all kinds of devices from smartphones to headsets. With the addition of haptics and some software, OEM designers can create a different user experience while differentiating their products. Traditionally, the two key technologies used for haptic actuators are eccentric rotating mass (ERM) motors and linear resonant actuators (LRAs) with more recent developments around piezoelectric actuators and drivers. Thanks to the NEC Tokin acquisition, Kemet already had entry into the piezoelectric market. In 2016, Kemet began a collaboration with Novasentis Inc. , a developer of haptic and sensory feedback technology for wearable devices. Kemet acquired Novasentis in July 2019. The two companies are working to develop and commercialize electromechanical polymer (EMP)-based haptic actuators for wearable and VR devices. The collaboration leveraged Novasentis’s haptic actuator film and core technology and Kemet’s expertise in film-based capacitor manufacturing. The film-based haptic actuators offer an ultra-thin profile and small size for haptic feedback in VR and wearable applications, providing a variety of tactile sensations. The thin, flexible actuators deliver piezoelectric effects at lower operating voltages, when compared to traditional piezoelectric. They can also produce audible sound when they vibrate in response to audio signals, similar to speakers, simultaneously providing haptic and audio feedback. With Novasentis’s LiveTouch haptic skin technology, designers can add touch to the surface of products, providing localized and natural authentic touch sensations, as well as programmable and customizable effects for a range of sensations. Electronic Products interviewed Philip Lessner, Ph.D., Kemet’s senior vice president and chief technical officer (CTO). Lessner said he is starting to see real-world uses for VR in industrial settings, including Kemet’s factory locations to help train workers on complex equipment. Excerpts from the interview are below. Philip Lessner, Kemet’ssenior vice president and CTO Electronic Products (EP): Whatare the basic building blocks, at the component level, for AR/VR devices? Lessner: I’ll talk primarily about the two technologies that we have. One building block for these very advanced computers is coming up with the lightest power-conversion components. It really means capacitors, and in our case, it’s polymer tantalum capacitors. So it’s the portability and wearability aspect of it — providing high-power computing in a very confined space. The other is the sensory experience. We’ve had a long-term partnership with Novasentis to make flexible, lightweight, and miniaturized haptic devices that give you a sense of touch. And the first market penetration we’re seeing for these devices — what we call polymer actuators — is in the VR and AR community for use in gloves and vests and in other applications where they want to provide some type of touch or tactile feedback. EP: What differentiatesNovasentis’s haptic technology from competitors? Lessner: Most haptics are done via an electromagnetic coil or something similar, so they’re fairly bulky and intrusive. We have a polymer film that when you apply a voltage signal to it, it vibrates and provides that haptics experience. How we’re differentiated from traditional devices are the advantages of miniaturization and better integration into end products like a glove or vest. The original work for the polymer film came out of Pennsylvania State University. Novasentis bought the patent, along with other add-on patents after that. We don’t believe anybody else in the world can make a device quite like this. Novasentis’s haptic actuators can be applied to equipment, the body, and gear to create very finehaptic feedback. (Image: Kemet Corp.) EP: What makes polymertantalum capacitors a good dielectric for these applications? Lessner: We’ve done some designs into various headsets, and what makes it a good dielectric is the high capacitance and the retention of capacitance with bias. We’re seeing a lot of use of the polymer tantalums on 3.3-V and 5-V rails where they need either something for filtering or for power holdup. There are a few applications and requests for 25-V and 35-V parts for the input power, similar to what you would see in high-end laptop computers. Apple, is, of course, a big user of polymer tantalum for the MacBooks. It’s about getting the most capacitance into the smallest constrained space as possible. EP: In terms of sensors —the second building block that you offer — do you think that sensors, ingeneral, is the biggest area of innovation for VR applications? Lessner: Yes, I think it will be. In general, you need a lot of sensors on these devices, and of course, a lot of them take advantage of the sensors that have been incorporated into smartphones and other devices, as part of continuing cost reductions. We believe the haptic ones, in particular, give a differentiated experience. I’ve done a few demonstrations using the Oculus headset. With our polymer haptic sensors, you can actually simulate different textures and feelings. For example, if you’re in a VR environment and you’re running your hand across a brick wall or you pick up a ball, you can actually feel not only the sensation of touching but you can actually simulate the different textures, so it makes it very realistic. We’re involved with haptics, but the other sensations of sight and sound and what you can do with the vision systems and the accelerometers and other technologies are equally as important. EP: Does the capability tofeel different textures open up new opportunities? Lessner: I think it does. Without a sense of touch, you’re sort of just poking into the air. We actually have a pilot program to implement some VR systems for manufacturing training to train technicians on how to set up some of Kemet’s complex machines. There’s no sense of touch yet; you press buttons or turn dials on the machine, but you’re doing this in thin air, so you’re missing part of the feedback experience. I think having this sense of touch and some rich experience around that will greatly enhance the user’s enjoyment of these systems, and in the more industrial case that we’re working on, a sense of reality and feedback will help them learn how to set up these complex machines. On the consumer side, I think it would open up more opportunities in gaming. Virtual reality will primarily be around gaming, while augmented reality has other applications, which will open up more realistic experiences. The first generation of haptics is beginning to be incorporated into the next generation of the game systems and VR systems. Based on press releases from Sony about its PS5 console, which will have some haptic devices in the game controller, users will have a greater sense of touch. They use the example of pulling back a bow. As you pull back a bow, there is more and more force exerted, and with the sensors and haptic controllers in the PS5, the user will be able to feel that, for a more realistic experience. EP: What are the mostimportant technology improvements/specifications for sensors in theseapplications? Lessner: One of them is miniaturization. From personal experience, when we started out with the VR project for training, we had goggles and four set camera sensors on tripods placed around the room to get the realistic experience. As we’ve gone through this project, which we’re doing in conjunction with the School of Computing at Clemson University, the headsets have advanced to the point where we no longer need these bulky external cameras and sensors. It’s really all in the headset now. We’re using headsets that still need to be connected to a computer, but I think the next generation will cut the cord. That’s where 5G comes in, or some type of wireless connection between the computer and the headset. The Clemson students and professors developed VR simulations of what they had seen a Kemet master technician perform in real life, using a game engine and other software, to develop the VR training module. The VR gloves transform the hand actions to digital inputs, allowing trainees to manipulate virtual controls, press buttons, and adjust calibrations to operate the virtual equipment. (Editor’s note: Here’s a  video  on how the VRtraining module works.) I really see the continued untethering of the headset from a computer system, and the continued miniaturization of the sensors, so everything is in the headset and nothing needs to be placed in the external environment. I think we’re probably about one or two years away from having VR systems where you can walk the street immersed in virtual reality and have a pretty realistic experience. EP: Is Kemet primarilytargeting industrial-type applications? Lessner: We’re targeting both consumer and industrial applications — across the board but more toward high-end headsets. We’re engaged with a set of customers for both VR and XR. We’ve either been designed in or sampling into products such as Oculus, Microsoft HoloLens, and Magic Leap. We’ve been working with Magic Leap for a while, which has advanced augmented reality. The initial driving force will be more of an industrial application. There’s a lot of activity in that area, especially around the high-end headsets for training industrial workers and also from an AR point of view for doing machine maintenance. Everybody laughed a few years back with the Google Glass fiasco, but it looks like the whole idea of smart glasses is starting to come back. I think what’s happened is the electronics has caught up, and miniaturization has caught up. That’s where very small-case-size ceramic and tantalum-polymer parts and other miniaturized components are targeted. EP: Designers tend toforget about the passives and the interconnects, but these components also haveto shrink, so there has to be innovation in these areas, too? Lessner: You’re right. With our acquisition of NEC TOKIN in 2017, we got the capability to do those small case sizes in polymer tantalum, and we’ve taken advantage of it in applications like these. EP: Do you see anyemerging applications for VR — outside of training or machine maintenance orvirtual gaming? Lessner: One is virtual travel. I was reading about some high-end VR system that was released the other day. The article on CNET said it felt like you were being transported to someplace else. They’ll be increasingly used in those types of applications where people want an experience; sort of experiential instead of game-like applications. EP: What do you think aresome of the biggest technology challenges today associated with XR? Lessner: Miniaturization and power consumption. In general, the amount of energy and power that’s required to make these high-end computer and sensor-laden systems work. Power consumption has to come down. The other is compute power and really miniaturizing the electronics, such that they fit into the size of a smartphone. And adding more sensory experiences. We’re working on haptics, but there are other experiences with other simulated senses. As time goes on, we’ll see more and more multi-sensory experiences to go with today’s 3D vision-type experience. We’re in a unique position with a very thin and flexible sensor that is easily integrated into gloves or other wearable devices, but I think there will be other types of sensors that will be needed in the future.

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Novasentis Rank

  • When was Novasentis founded?

    Novasentis was founded in 2006.

  • Where is Novasentis's headquarters?

    Novasentis's headquarters is located at 200 Innovation Boulevard, State College.

  • What is Novasentis's latest funding round?

    Novasentis's latest funding round is Series D.

  • How much did Novasentis raise?

    Novasentis raised a total of $13.41M.

  • Who are the investors of Novasentis?

    Investors of Novasentis include KEMET, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, Chengwei Capital, Samsung Ventures, WS Investments and 4 more.

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