Founded in 2009 as a project at the Media Research Lab based in New York University, Touchco was a startup specializing in touch screen technology. Despite the company being in its embryonic stages with only six employees and no commercial products under its belt, the technology they were developing seemed promising.
Using a technology called interpolating force-sensitive resistance, Touchco was creating transparent displays that were highly affordable. Touchco screens also promised to detect an unlimited number of touchpoints simultaneously using resistors sensitive to different pressure levels. Just one year after its inception, Touchco was acquired by Amazon.
By 2010, Amazon was trying to match up to Apple’s iPad by upgrading Kindle’s capabilities. The tech giant acquired Touchco to upgrade Kindles’ display. Amazon merged Touchco’s staff and technology to its Kindle hardware division known as Lab126.
At the time of the acquisition, Amazon Kindle was using displays made by E-ink. However, E-ink displays were proving to be non-scalable. While E-ink was good for reading books, its performance was questionable when it came to viewing multimedia or other entertainment applications. To get an edge over iPad, Amazon had to rethink its display technology and Touchco was the perfect candidate for the job.
With the help of Touchco, Amazon would be able to introduce full-color, touch screen versions of Kindle which would be better suited for a wider variety of content. This would put Amazon on par with other tablets in the market.
After the acquisition, the Touchco website and YouTube page were stripped of all content. A note displayed on the website informed customers that as of January 2010, Touchco would no longer be doing businesses.