MultiTouch Ltd: Touchscreens for multi-user applications

MultiTouch manufactures and markets large interactive LCD touchscreens that support several simultaneous users.

The company was established in 2007, and the product was first conceived as a video wall developed at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), a joint research institute of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The prototype that was displayed on YouTube was attuned to the latest trends and attracted interest around the world.

The multi-user touchscreen of MultiTouch recognizes the entire hand, not just individual touch points, which improves its usability. The screens can be equally well set up as a table or a wall and used for images, videos and games. The user interface is made up of a number of different screens that can be combined to form large multitouch walls, reducing hardware costs per user and saving space.

The screens are supplied by MultiTouch, and the partners implement their presentations using an open application development platform. MultiTouch screens are in use at the NASA Space Center in Houston and at museums, exhibitions, universities and research institutes.

Some 95 per cent of the company’s products are exported, and it operates in more than 40 countries through its own sales network and resellers. The company’s headquarters are located in Hernesaari, Helsinki, with offices in Santa Clara in California and in New York.

Tekes encouraged problem-solving and internationalisation

Together with Finnvera and the Foundation for Finnish Innovations, Tekes co-financed the first steps of MultiTouch’s development efforts. Tekes funding also supported the launch of the first commercial version of the multitouch screen in early 2009, and the release of a second-generation screen that was only half the depth of its predecessor in autumn 2010. The company has also been involved in the Tekes programme Ubicom – Embedded ICT.

"Tekes played a major role in the product development and risk management of MultiTouch. Tekes funding enabled us to push up the risk level; in other words, we have solved problems that we would not have tackled without Tekes", says CEO Petri Martikainen. MultiTouch has also filed some ten patent applications.

Tekes also supported the company in honing its internationalisation strategy through funding for young innovative growth companies.

Targeting global and domestic markets

Future priorities will include developing the reseller network and setting up affiliated companies. Martikainen believes that in the next few years, MultiTouch will be ready to enter the consumer market. The company has visions of a type of home information screen.

"Manufacturing new models in large quantities will be easy, which will translate as cost-effectiveness and lower prices. This will give us access to new market segments”, says Martikainen.

Further information:
CEO Petri Martikainen
MultiTouch Oy
tel. +358 (0)50 5500 666


Kaj Nordgren

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