Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg uses a haptic glove research prototype designed to create a realistic sense of touch in the metaverse. (Meta photo)

Meta made a big announcement Tuesday about how to touch the virtual world through the use of haptic gloves developed by the company’s Reality Labs Research.

But the news came for a startup in Seattle that said it’s been pioneering the technology since 2012, a bit of a backhand.

HaptX has worked on haptic gloves with microfluidic feedback technology to help corporate customers work in virtual reality and robotics. In a statement to GeekWire, Jake Rubin, founder and CEO of HaptX, said about Metas gloves appear to be essentially identical to HaptX’s patented technology. “

Rubin pointed out core components of the meta-prototype, including a microfluidic tactile silicone-based feedback laminate and a pneumatic control architecture.

An early stage research prototype for haptic gloves from Meta’s Reality Labs Research. (Meta photo)

In his press release and a longer blog post On Tuesday, Meta listed examples in which his team is promoting human-computer interaction and “creating new breakthroughs to make haptic gloves a reality”. Among those breakthroughs, Meta listed microfluidics and said it was “developing the world’s first high-speed microfluidic processor”.

Rubin said, welcomed HaptX “Interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; However, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive. ”

He added that the startup hadn’t heard from Meta, but that HaptX “lWe look forward to working with them to reach a fair and equitable agreement that addresses our concerns and enables them to incorporate our innovative technology into their future consumer products. “

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, sparked a wave of interest when it did Renamed last month and announced a stronger focus on connecting people with virtual and augmented reality technologies in the so-called Metaverse.

Meta called its haptic gloves “comfortable and adaptable,” and said they can reproduce a range of sensations in virtual worlds, including texture, pressure, and vibration.

That’s a similar pitch to the technology that HaptX developed. GeekWire first checked a prototype of HaptX gloves in 2016.

Meta said that over the past seven years it has “pioneered new techniques, technologies and disciplines, pushed the boundaries of what is possible with soft robotics, and invented entirely new materials and manufacturing processes.”

The tech giant said its research is still in its infancy, but the goal is to one day pair the gloves with consumer VR headsets for immersive experiences, like putting a puzzle together with a friend or playing at a concert or poker game in the Metaversum.

“We create almost everything in this discipline from scratch,” said Sean Keller, who leads interaction and input research for AR / VR at Reality Labs Research, in the meta blog post. “We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with soft robotics and instrumented tracking systems. And we are inventing completely new soft materials and manufacturing technologies – that is a clear break with the past. “

The HaptX gloves DK2. (HaptX photo)

HaptX raised $ 12 million in July new funding for the further development of its HaptX Gloves DK2, which physically and precisely move the skin on a user’s hands and fingers.

Corporate customers use the gloves to train their employees; to design and test new vehicles; and to control robots remotely, among other things.

Ruby, raised on Mercer Island, Washington, started using HaptX as the AxonVR when he was 22 years old. The company raised a $ 5.8 million seed round in 2016 and has raised $ 31 million to date.

Here is HaptX’s full statement on Meta’s microfluidic glove prototype:

Over the past decade, HaptX has pioneered microfluidic haptic feedback. Our award-winning technology has received extensive coverage in the trade and technology press, and we have worked tirelessly to develop and promote the unique benefits of microfluidics as an approach to high fidelity haptic feedback. With the longstanding commitment of our engineers, developers and investors, we have also secured an industry-leading patent portfolio to protect our technology and products.

When interacting with other companies in the VR industry, we have always believed that collaboration is of the utmost importance to the development of the entire industry. Over the years we have invited many Meta engineers, researchers and executives to demonstrate our breakthrough haptic technology.

Today Meta announced its own prototype microfluidic haptic feedback glove. The core components of this prototype, including the silicone-based microfluidic tactile feedback laminate and pneumatic control architecture, appear to be essentially identical to HaptX’s patented technology. We welcome interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; However, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive.

While we haven’t heard from Meta, we look forward to working with you to reach a fair and equitable agreement that takes our concerns into account and enables them to incorporate our innovative technology into their future consumer products.

Sincere,

Jake Rubin

Founder and CEO, HaptX

Source link

Leave a Reply