Haptics firm HaptX claims Meta (previously Fb) copied its patented designs in a glove that the tech large revealed yesterday. HaptX — a longtime participant within the digital and augmented actuality business — says components of the glove seem “substantively identical” to its personal work utilizing pneumatics to simulate bodily contact.

“We welcome interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; however, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive,” mentioned HaptX founder and CEO Jake Rubin in an announcement. “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.”

The Meta glove is an in-progress design that received’t be commercialized for years, if ever. Nevertheless, Meta Actuality Labs — a VR- and AR-focused analysis division — believes contact is an important piece of future consumer-focused VR / AR methods. The glove makes use of inflatable rubber pads and a classy management system to create a sensation of strain or resistance when customers contact digital objects. HaptX developed an analogous inflation-based system that it sells to skilled purchasers relatively than customers.

HaptX, previously often called AxonVR, debuted publicly in 2016 after 4 years in stealth mode. Meta researchers say they developed their first glove prototype in mid-2015, not lengthy after the tech large acquired VR startup Oculus. Nevertheless, Meta has considerably expanded on its preliminary prototype, and HaptX claims the 2 firms have had prolonged interactions. “Over the years, we’ve hosted many engineers, researchers, and executives from Meta to demonstrate our groundbreaking haptic technology,” mentioned Rubin.

Meta has been accused of unfairly competing in opposition to VR software program builders by cloning their merchandise whereas limiting entry to the Quest platform. This case is barely totally different as a result of HaptX is accusing Meta of direct patent infringement — one thing that might doubtlessly result in authorized motion. Reached for remark, HaptX declined to touch upon what it could take into account a good settlement with Meta, in addition to whether or not it’d pursue a lawsuit if it fails to achieve one.

A Meta spokesperson declined to touch upon the allegations.

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