VR glove maker HaptX received a $1.5m government grant to develop a full-body haptic system. The National Science Foundation grant will allow the Seattle startup to continue work on its ForceBot project, which combines a robotic exoskeleton with microfluidic touch feedback to deliver realistic feedback to the whole body in VR.
- HaptX has been quietly co-developing ForceBot with research partners Virginia Tech and the University of Florida for the last four years.
- The goal is to allow VR users to feel and touch virtual objects, manipulate them from afar using an avatar, move across terrain, and experience realistic movement constraints.
- Unlike current haptic feedback tech, it's focused on a user's arms and legs as well as their hands, eyes, and ears. HaptX CRO Joe Michaels said the larger vision is "something akin to the Holodeck" from Star Trek.
- Initial enterprise applications will focus on sports, emergency response, and industrial skills training.
- HaptX, which debuted its first-gen VR gloves in 2017, has raised $19m to date.