Emerge Bringing Physical Touch to the Metaverse
The social virtual connection company Emerge which focuses on building inside the metaverse, Emerge, announced the launch of the Emerge Home system last week that enables one to use their hands in the metaverse.
Anticipating the launch of Emerge Home, the company has also raised another $13 million. The latest funding round came from strategic investors and will be used in finalizing product development as well as to support the early adopter community.
This is Emerge’s first product that provides an immersive bare-hands tactile experience. The technology was demo’d at the GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse online event by Emerge co-founders Isaac Castro and Sly Lee.
According to a recent National Research Group study on the consumer views of the metaverse, most respondents are excited about the metaverse although some 78% stated that they missed the ability to physically touch and interact with people when they are interacting virtually.
Even as online experiences get more immersive, they still lack the sensory experiences, non-verbal cues as well as how users can feel things together. While virtual worlds are becoming an important center of shared social experiences, they still don’t provide a major pillar of the human experience – haptics, or the ability to physically connect with those we are interacting with through a sense of touch with our barer hands.
The Emerge Home system has three components. These include the Emerge Wave-1 device, the Emerge Home social virtual experience as well as the Emerge Home mobile app. The Emerge Wave-1 is the company’s new tabletop device that makes your bare hands be your controllers.
Also in the same footprint is a 13-inch laptop that emits sculpted ultrasonic waves and enables users to feel and interact through the sense of touch in the virtual world. Emerge Wave-1 leverages Emerge’s patented technology to create a mid-air field of interaction that extends up to 3 feet above the device as well as 120 degrees around it.
According to Emerge CEO Lee, the company’s technology is a representation of the “next paradigm shift in human interaction.” He states that the company wants to take users “beyond the screen” and enable them to connect with one another emotionally and in a natural way irrespective of the distance between them.
The company is developing a family of products that will enable users to physically feel tactile experiences using their bare hands within a virtual space without having to use controllers, gloves, or other wearables.
Company co-CEO Castro says Emerge Home is a first step in the company’s broader journey to develop “a new language of touch in the virtual world” by focusing on enabling the communication of emotions via virtual tactile experiences. Castro states that while the company is embarking on this journey with virtual reality, it will look at other interfaces in the near future.
Emerge’s new investors include Trousdale Ventures, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, Matthew Ball of EpyllionCo, the MEMS expert Kurt Petersen, and Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill. Previous investors in the company are Vulcan Capital and M13.
Both Emerge Home system and Emerge Wave -1 device are set to debut on Kickstarter in February and will retail at $500 for a limited time.