StretchSense GD1 portfolio company profile


The hand engine for the metaverse 

Truly transformative deep tech startups have an innate belief that their vision will help shape the future. StretchSense is one of those companies.  

Fast forward to an advanced version of today’s digital world, and digital interaction will look entirely different to how it does now. Already, consumers expect increasing levels of realism in their games, movies, and within AR/VR worlds​. StretchSense has added firepower to this trend. 

The GD1-backed start-up is the emerging global leader in the rapidly evolving wearable sensor technology industry, with its tech set to play a pivotal role in accelerating collaboration, training and design in our increasingly virtual world becoming known as ‘the metaverse’. Using StretchSense, creative industries can replicate the subtlety and nuance of realistic hand movements for more beautiful, life-like animation with precision and consistency. 

We share a little more about their journey... 

Key statistics

  • Company stage: Series A
  • Founded in: R&D began in 2007, with the current entity formed in 2019 to focus on commercialisation and international expansion
  • Staff count: 50 and growing 
  • Locations: NZ and the US
  • Other ‘vitals’: 
  • StretchSense makes the Mocap Pro glove and software Hand Engine 
  • Over 200 gaming and vfx studios are using StretchSense mocap gloves
  • StretchSense combines ultra precise stretchable sensors with machine learning to make the highest performing glove on the market. 
  • Each glove can be washed over 200 times and still work perfectly

What problem does StretchSense solve? 

Hands are how we create, express ourselves, interact and learn within a ‘real-world’ environment - they are what make us human. Within a digital world, however, facial and body motion is ‘easier’ to replicate than hand motion. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for gaming studios as well as AR/VR teams and movie production companies to employ teams of animators to draw hands on virtual characters - taking months and a huge amount of resource.

StretchSense solves this problem by capturing accurate hand data used for lifelike animation; and has its sights set on using the same technology to revolutionise how we interact with virtual worlds..

Due to really poor experiences with other products, StretchSense’s early prospects would say ‘Motion-capture gloves just don’t work…! “So we weaponised honesty. We built deep trust with brutally honest demo videos, and a fantastic support team that sticks like glue to customers and never disengages until they [the customer] are happily in production,” explains Ben O’Brien, CEO of StretchSense. 

How does it work and why is StretchSense effective? 

StretchSense creates soft and stretchy hi-tech sensors that can be stitched or glued into clothing to make ‘smart clothes’. These sensors measure and provide precision motion information about the human body’s movement and interaction with devices or the world around us. This data enables more realistic animation for truly virtual spaces and the technology is more reliable, robust and accurate than other in-market solutions. 

“Today’s digital interactions are 2D. There are links you have to navigate; a rectangle you have to click to join a meeting. Contrast that with natural interaction where you can see someone instantly; read their body language; talk to groups of people or take someone aside for a chat. So much of what it means to be human happens instantly, face to face. StretchSense will allow the lines between our real and virtual worlds to blur by facilitating seamless, enhanced participation in the virtual world regardless of age or skill. Participants won’t be ‘frozen out’ because of physical ability, location or social background,” explains Ben. 

He adds: “Any kind of barrier to participation in a virtual world is a handbrake on progress and on accessibility. Hands and what hands can do in a virtual world will be key to making and using tools within the metaverse. When you understand that, you understand the importance of accurate, precise motion capture and the potential for this technology to shape our future.” 

Why did StretchSense seek Series A funding? 

StretchSense already provides the world’s leading motion capture solution for the gaming and entertainment industries and aims to become the premium hand-tracking solution within the metaverse, providing a natural and nuanced way of interacting within this 3D space. 

Why is StretchSense a great investment for GD1? 

StretchSense is a deep tech company with its sights set on blurring the boundaries that stand between people and the virtual world within entertainment, gaming and verticals including online training. With a business plan to get them from ‘here’ to ‘there’; we’re confident in their ability to rewrite the future in terms of how we communicate, interact, socialise and do business.


Written bY
GD1 Team



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