HaptX Has Raised $23 Million for Full-Body VR Haptics
US-based haptics technology startup HaptX has raised $23 million for a full-body haptics platform.
HaptX is already well known for its complex VR haptic gloves for virtual reality, augmented reality, and other applications. The startup has now raised $23 million that will go into accelerating the development of its next generation of haptic technology.
Haptic technology such as those created by HaptX make virtual reality and augmented reality experiences more immersive and convincing enabling users to replicate, with varying degrees of realism, the kind of sensations that we typically feel in the real world. There are dozens of companies working on different kinds of haptic technologies ranging from haptic gloves to finger devices, haptic vests, and even full-body haptic suits. The touch sensations replicated by haptics technologies add a quality of presence to virtual reality experiences. These sensations are not yet well refined but they are already making a difference in various immersive experiences. Haptics technology is considered an important building block of the metaverse that will usher in more realistic and practical applications in various VR experiences.
Two years ago, HaptX unveiled its second development kit. The company’s first haptic product was launched in early 2021 and it is already being put into various real-world uses such as product design.
According to HaptX’s CEO Jake Rubin, the company began its journey with a focus on full body immersion and the company has been continuing with the development of that technology. Rubin says that the company needed to segment a market where it could focus its efforts and it eventually decided on the hands as they are the most sensitive. This resulted in the development of HaptX gloves.
HaptX’s latest funding round was led by AIS Global and Crescent Cove Advisors. Also participating in this funding round were Mason Avenue Investments, Verizon Ventures, and Taylor Frigon Partners.
With the $23 million investment, HaptX has now raised more than $58 million. In this funding round, Centerview Partners were the financial advisors.
The money from this funding round will go into the commercialization of the startup’s next generation of products that will evolve from HaptX’s successful product, the HaptX Gloves DK2.
The HaptX Gloves are distinct from other haptic gloves that mainly provide haptic feedback through vibration and force feedback. The HaptX Gloves, on the other hand, can physically displace the skin of a user just like a physical object would in the real world.
As a result, the HaptX Gloves deliver enhanced realism in virtual reality applications. The gloves have been designed with over 130 points of tactile feedback for every hand. These gloves have already been adopted by some of the leading Fortune 500 companies and even governments and are being put into use in serious applications beyond just the gimmicky. For instance, HaptX Gloves are put into applications such as industrial design, training and simulation, and robotics.
Beyond the latest funding round, HaptX also partnered with AIS Global, a portfolio firm comprising New York-based KPS Capital Partners.
AIS Global CEO Joe Baddeley says that his company and HaptX have embarked on a “deep, successful relationship” focused on innovation on the frontiers of the high-growth global haptics market. AIS Global promises to offer the commitment, resources, and expertise required for HaptX’s aggressive scaling up of its commercial footprint.
This funding round also saw Crescent Cove Advisors increasing its investment in the haptics firm following its $4 million credit facility to HaptX last year. Crescent Cove Advisors’ Jun Hong Heng said his company believes HaptX will be an important foundational component towards the realization of the metaverse as the next evolution of the 2D internet into a 3D immersive world.
HaptX says its next generation of products will be coming soon. The company is promising to take a “huge leap forward” in its next iteration of products and technology.
HaptX’s first haptics system is already being used by a large number of customers which has given the company a lot of feedback. The company’s boss Jake Rubin says the learnings from the feedback obtained from its earlier system have been used in its next generation of products.
HaptX is aiming to eventually arrive at a full-body haptic suit capable of capturing haptic feedback throughout the body just like the body suits seen in the sci-film Ready Player One. According to Rubin, HaptX has been also been engaged in parallel research paths aimed at improving its glove product and extending the haptic feedback to other body parts.
HaptX currently employs about 50 people and is planning to double the headcount within the next year.
Rubin says the company has made tremendous R&D progress with its haptic products and will soon focus its efforts on more consumer-oriented applications.