HaptX: million-dollar investment in full-body VR haptics
US startup HaptX makes complex haptic gloves for VR, AR and other applications. Now the company is receiving double-digit funding that will go toward new products.
HaptX is known for its intricately designed, eponymous haptic gloves: they simulate touch with virtual objects via small chambers that can be filled with fluid at lightning speed. The skin of the glove wearer is thereby pressed inward by up to two millimeters.
Added to this are artificial tendons that can pull on the fingers with a resistance of up to 18 kilograms. The gloves can haptically enhance VR and AR applications or serve as sensitive remote controls for robotic hands.
Even more haptics in VR
Most recently, HaptX has been somewhat quiet, releasing its last glove update in January 2021. In summer 2021, it announced a $12 million investment round, followed by another $4 million in November 2022.
Now, HaptX is announcing its next, largest-ever investment round of $23 million. The money comes from venture capital firms. Since its founding in 2016, this brings investor contributions to $58 million. The company currently employs around 50 people.
According to HaptX CFO Jun Hong, the company has “tremendous customer demand” for various application areas. Hong does not give an exact sales figure.
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“We believe HaptX will play a foundational role in fulfilling the promise of the Metaverse as an immersive 3D successor to today’s 2D internet,” Hong says.
CEO promises huge leap – and products for end users
For the next generation of HaptX products, CEO Jake Rubin promises “a huge leap” in terms of technology and scale. The ambition, he said, is to one day develop a full-body haptic VR suit in the style of Ready Player One. The gloves were the obvious starting point.
According to Rubin, his company is working on new gloves and other haptic devices for the rest of the body. Rubin would not give a date for news, but said it would come “quite soon”.
“We have made an incredible amount of R&D progress,” Rubin said. “I’m just incredible excited to share everything that we’ve been doing. We will start to touch more consumer-oriented applications.”