Meta, the holding company for Facebook, Oculus, Instagram, and WhatsApp, unveiled a piece of wearable technology this week — a haptic glove that seeks to reproduce the sensation of touch within digital spaces.
The glove, designed and created by Reality Labs (RL) research, a division within Meta, is meant to accurately understand and reflect the wearer’s hand movements while reproducing the sensations of pressure, texture, and vibration.
“We’re creating almost everything about this discipline from scratch ... We’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with soft robotics and instrumented tracking systems. And we’re inventing entirely new soft materials and manufacturing technologies — it’s a clean break from the past.”
The vision for the haptic gloves is to be able to leverage pneumatic actuators in conjunction with advanced hand tracking technology, so that the system would know where your hand is within a virtual scene — accordingly, the RL team is also developing a new type of rendering software that could send the right instructions to the actuators.
Meta is still not ready to release a commercialized version of the haptic glove, as some of the technologies needed to deliver believable haptic experiences in virtual and augmented reality don’t exist yet. The RL team stills needs to finish developing the microfluidic processor that would power the actuators along with customizing the glove to fit all kinds of hand sizes.