A VR-robotics company called HaptX accuses Meta of copying its patented technology to build the prototype haptic glove, which Mark Zuckerberg showed off yesterday.
The prototype haptic glove Mark Zuckerberg showed off yesterday is facing allegations that it’s actually based on existing, patented technology.
The allegations come from Seattle-based HaptX, which has been developing and demoing its own haptic glove for VR for years now. On Tuesday, HaptX accused Meta(formerly Facebook) of copying its patents to help build the prototype glove, which can let the wearer “feel texture and pressure” when touching digital objects in virtual reality.
“The core components of this prototype, including the silicone-based microfluidic tactile feedback laminate and pneumatic control architecture, appear to be substantively identical to HaptX’s patented technology,” HaptX CEO Jake Rubin wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “We welcome interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; however, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive.”
The “microfluidic tactile feedback” refers to how HaptX has been creating air-powered silicon actuators capable of replicating the sensation of touching real-world objects when worn over a glove. The actuators essentially act as bubbles that can inflate and deflate against your skin. On Tuesday, Meta debuted its own “pneumatic actuators,” which seem to rely on the same concept.
According to HaptX, the company even demoed its own technology to Meta executives, engineers, and researchers over the years. The accusations raise the possibility that HaptX may file a patent infringement lawsuit against Meta. But for now, the company is hoping to resolve the issue with Zuckerberg amicably, likely through some form of payment or licensing deal.
“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 added.