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Haptic wearables interest more and more agencies in the military sector. While experiencing something in virtual or augmented reality can be pretty life-like, adding haptic touch technology — letting you feel the size, weight, temperature, and impact of virtual objects — takes it up another notch.
HaptX, a Seattle startup, previously known as AxonVR, recently unveiled its first product, the HaptX Gloves, which use microfluidic technology and motion tracking to let users to move through virtual environments and feel virtual objects with their hands.
The gloves have more than 100 points of high-displacement tactile feedback created by small inflated air bubbles that displace your skin depending on where you are moving in the virtual environment.
HaptX is focusing on three potential use case categories: entertainment, design and manufacturing, and training. CEO Jake Rubin said that customers in the defense industry traditionally rely on special purpose simulators for training applications that are “incredibly expensive, inflexible, and non-portable.” “There is an incredible level of excitement in the military community around the prospect of having a general purpose platform that consists of haptic wearables, plus a head-mounted display, that allows you to train any situation at any time in any place at a fraction of the cost of these special purpose simulators,” he explained to geekwire.com. Rubin said adding haptic touch technology to virtual training is a game-changer that helps speed up the learning process and gives a better sense of what an experience is actually like in real life.
The glove is still in prototype stage. Rubin said the company’s focus is now shifting from heavy R&D to scale and production of the gloves. The idea is to ultimately design products for the entire body.