HaptX, a new Virtual Reality firm to bring a new generation of AR/VR consumers closer to digital content has issued a strident statement accusing Facebook, err Meta of displaying a prototype haptic feedback glove, that was “substantially identical” to their own patented technology.
HaptX CEO Jake Rubin in a statement revealed that his business had presented their technology to “many engineers, researchers, and executives from Meta” over the years, but that they were not contacted by the company on this current endeavor. “While we have yet to hear from Meta, we look forward to working with them to establish a fair and equitable agreement that reflects our concerns while allowing them to utilize our breakthrough technology into their future consumer products,” says Rubin.
Microfluidic feedback is a technique that both HaptX and the recently disclosed Meta prototype utilize. While haptic feedback on your phone or game controller uses linear actuators to simulate buzzing or rumbling, microfluidic feedback uses sensors to control airflow through a network of tubes in a way that can smartly mimic sensations connected with picking up objects or feeling exceptional textures that are all made digitally.
“Meta released a prototype microfluidic haptic feedback glove recently, which has come to our notice that the silicone-based microfluidic tactile feedback laminate and pneumatic control architecture used in this prototype seems to be virtually identical to our patented technology. In the realm of microfluidic haptics, we welcome interest and competition; but, for the sector to prosper, the competition must be fair,” Rubin noted.
Over the years, Facebook has also exhibited several AR/VR prototypes, exhibiting complicated technologies and testing the cutting edge of such technology. Also, HaptX has been developing haptic-feedback gloves for corporate customers, miniaturizing the technology that previously required a backpack-sized pneumatic unit to regulate the gloves’ sensory feedback.
It is indeed noticeable that Meta’s team has achieved significant technological advancements, following the revealing of how they constructed “the world’s first high-speed microfluidic processor,” a chipset in the glove that operates these feedback parameters, in a research blog post.
“The goal is to invent soft, lightweight haptic gloves that address both sides of the AR/VR interaction problem and in the process, helping the computer aptly comprehend and portray the wearer’s hand motions, and replicating a range of complex, subtle sensations for the wearer such as pressure, texture, and vibration to achieve the desired effect of feeling a virtual object with your hands,” one of the company’s researchers explained.
Over the years, Facebook has received a lot of backlash from startups who claim that large tech company has unfairly replicated their technologies. They’ve also attracted the attention of regulators, who claim they’ve engaged in anti-competitive activities.