Yesterday, Meta, unveiled a new prototype haptic feedback glove, which they claimed may someday bring a new generation of AR/VR consumers closer to digital content than they’ve ever been. Today, HaptX, a VR firm with the same objective, issued a strident statement accusing Meta of displaying a prototype that was “substantially identical” to their own patented technology.
HaptX CEO Jake Rubin went on to say that his business had presented their technology to “many engineers, researchers, and executives from Meta” over the years, but that they were not contacted by the company on this current endeavour.
“While we have not yet heard from Meta, we look forward to working with them to reach a fair and equitable arrangement that addresses our concerns and enables them to incorporate our innovative technology into their future consumer products,” Rubin said.
Microfluidic feedback is a technology used by both HaptX and the recently announced Meta prototype. While haptic feedback on your phone or game controller uses small motors to simulate buzzing or rumbling, microfluidic feedback uses actuators to control airflow through a network of tubes in a way that can sophisticatedly mimic sensations associated with picking up objects or even feeling unique textures that are all rendered digitally.
Over the years, Facebook has received a lot of flak from startups who claim that the large tech giant has unfairly replicated their businesses. They’ve also drawn the ire of regulators, who claim they’ve engaged in anti-competitive activities.