HaptX Secures $12 Million in Funding Round, Partners with Advanced Input Systems
H aptic gloves manufacturer HaptX has partnered with Advanced Input Systems while also announcing a new $12 million funding round.
The new infusion of cash will finance the company’s production of next-generation HaptX gloves that have been designed for robotics and virtual reality. The investment round does not include the funding from existing investors such as Amit Kapur of Dawn Patrol Ventures and NetEase. The investors that participated in this latest funding round include Taylor Frigon Capital Partners, Mason Avenue Investments, Votiv Capital, Keiretsu Capital, Keirestsu Forum and Upheaval Investments. The company was founded in 2012 and has so far raised $19 million since its inception. The company has offices in Seattle and San Luis Obispo and will be showcasing its latest tech during the CES in Las Vegas that will take place from January 7-10.
The current virtual reality headsets make use of tracked hand controllers that are built with rudimentary haptic effects to deliver haptic feedback to users. The sense of touch is one of the most difficult to simulate in virtual reality in a fully immersive and believable fashion. A lot of research in the virtual reality field is currently focused on creating physical resistance that cover all the 10 digits. According to Facebook’s chief VR researcher Michael Abrash, it may be possible to have a realistic haptic device that replicates such kind of physical resistance by 2028.
The HaptX XR glove should create 3D interaction that will be standard with sensitivity for virtual reality, augmented reality and robotic uses. The millions of dollars in funding will go a long way in making this a reality.
HaptX was formerly known as AxonVR and has been researching and developing exoskeleton systems designed for new forms of human-machine interactions. The company’s flagship project was its elaborate haptic gloves for both XR and robot interactions. Their working mechanism involves a liquid being pressed at super-fast speed around 130 circular chambers at the user’s fingertips and joints as well as in the palms of the hands and then released again.
The haptic software will determine the chambers which are to be filled, how much liquid is to be pumped and at what point the liquid should be pumped in order to convey the right feeling or perception of the object. The manufacturer calls these chambers “haptic pixels” and they will simulate the sense of touch and resistance. Suddenly, the user will notice the contours of the digital objects and the user will no longer be able to reach through them.
Nissan is already experimenting with the HaptX haptic gloves in designing and developing some of its new car models in virtual reality. With additional tracking technology, it will be possible even for robot hands to be remotely controlled via sensitivity. Several companies have been experimenting with the HaptX prototype throughout this year according to the company’s founder Jake Rubin.
HaptX is building the next generation of haptic gloves. The main disadvantage with these gloves, however, is that they are still relatively bulky and heavy that you need two people to put them on.
The second generation of the HaptX gloves could be better. The company’s development efforts is now backed by a dozen or so investors to the tune of $12 million.
Apart from the news on its fundraising efforts, it has also emerged that HaptX is also cooperating with the US company Advanced Input Systems, a Human-Machine Interface company which specializes in industrial interfaces. This partnership could help sell the company’s next-generation gloves to more companies and with more frequency. The two companies will collaborate on manufacturing and product development.
HaptX latest demos will be at the CES in January. Keep reading VirtualRealityTimes.com to catch on the latest developments from the company.