Meta is building VR gloves for the metaverse

Meta is spending $10B on AR/VR and metaverse hardware this year. One project: a prototype VR glove that uses inflatable pads to simulate touch.

A few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg explained his vision for the metaverse and rebranded Facebook as “Meta.”

Meta is building VR gloves for the metaverse

As part of its pivot, Meta said it’s spending ~$10B this year on VR, AR, and hardware related to the metaverse.

On Tuesday, the company unveiled one major project:

A prototype of haptic VR gloves

According to The Verge, Meta is building handwear “that reproduces sensations like grasping an object or running your hand along a surface.”

The glove has been in the works for 7 years and works like so:

  • It’s lined with ~15 inflatable plastic pads
  • The pads run along the palm, underside of the fingers, and fingertips
  • There is a camera and sensors to detect finger movement and bending

Example: If you pick up a plate in the virtual world, the finger pads will inflate to create that real-life feeling.

The technology is called soft robotics…

… and replaces traditional haptic technology that uses “bulky motors with tiny air valves,” per The Verge.

Even if Meta nails the tech, there are a number of challenges it faces before going mass market:

  • Hand sizes differ greatly and the glove needs to have a tight fit to be effective
  • Cleaning the glove will probably not be as easy as throwing it in the wash
  • Biometrics data collected from the glove raises potential privacy concerns

Another product is in the works

Meta’s Reality Labs — the unit responsible for AR/VR hardware — is also building electromyography tools to turn nerve signals in the arm into digital actions.

With a reported 10m Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets already sold, Meta’s solution will set pace for the industry… just like Zuck planned when this photo was taken in 2016.

(Source: CNET / Facebook)
Topics: Facebook

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