Cirque Corporation

Posted - Aug. 7, 2001 at 9:15 p.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

If you have a laptop computer, chances are very good the touchpad technology it uses in place of a mouse was developed here in Utah.

Cirque Corporation, a company based in Salt Lake, began designing touchpads back in the early 1990s. Called Glidepoint, the company’s unique system of vertical and horizontal electrodes created a solid state setup that would respond to a finger’s touch. The technology proved to be a better solution than buttons or a tracking ball because it didn’t have any moving parts. It allowed laptops to become even more compact. By the end of the decade, Cirque’s technology catered to more than half the laptop market.

But Cirque’s founders soon realized their Glidepoint technology could be used in a variety of applications. Not only was the design solid state, it was hardy and durable as well, meaning dirt and moisture wouldn’t ruin it.

The company has developed products using its technology. They now produce three touchpads they call “Cats” that can be used in place of a regular computer mouse. Rather than moving over a pad, the thin touchpads allow users to operate their computers by finger touch. Cirque also developed a touchpad security device that can be controlled using patterns of hand gestures. The device can be used to activate lights, open a garage door or gate and lock or unlock doors.

And for users of personal digital assistants or electronic planners, Cirque has developed a keyboard that connects to the handheld computers. The keyboard incorporates Cirque’s Glidepoint technology, which makes it small enough to fit in a shirt pocket yet big enough for typing.

But besides selling products that utilize its technology, Cirque has focused on becoming an original equipment manufacturer and supplier to other companies. Cirque’s technology is used in marine applications, flight simulators and slot machines. It is also used in phone booths, tractors, medical devices and ATMs. And it can work under veneer on work surfaces or on thin flexible plastic. Thanks to Cirque Corporation, touchpads will likely make our lives more convenient in the future.

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.

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