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Touch Sensor Developer Gains $12M in Early Funds

HaptX glove

HaptX glove (HaptX Inc.)

20 Dec. 2019. A company making gloves that transmit a sense of touch in games and commercial robotics is raising $12 million in its first venture funding round. HaptX Inc. in Seattle is also partnering with Advanced Input Systems, a developer of human-machine interface technologies,in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

HaptX develops systems that provide realistic touch feedback, built in a glove with sensors and skins to capture, transmit, and receive haptic signals. The glove contains a thin (1.5 millimeter) smart textile skin with panels of air channels and 130 pneumatic actuators that convey haptic feedback to the wearer. A lightweight exoskeleton is built on the glove to provide up to four pounds of force on each finger that the company says complements the glove’s smart textile skin.

In addition, the glove system uses software that tracks precise motions and position of the hand. HaptX says the hand tracking software offers sub-millimeter accuracy, with an automatically generated and individualized hand model. A silent mini-compressor provides air to the pneumatic skin and actuators, regulated with a compact control panel, which the company says can operate in an office setting.

HaptX makes its haptic glove for virtual-reality games, as well as training systems using virtual reality. The company is collaborating with car maker Nissan to develop virtual-reality systems with haptic feedback to help automotive design engineers interact with 3-D car models. HaptX says the technology can reduce the need for multiple full-scale prototypes.

The company’s first venture funding round is raising $12 million from existing investors NetEase and Amit Kapur of Dawn Patrol Ventures, with proceeds aimed at creating the next generation of haptic gloves. Joining the round are new investors Mason Avenue Investments, Taylor Frigon Capital Partners, Upheaval Investments, Votiv Capital, Keiretsu Forum, and Keiretsu Capital. HaptX, founded in 2012, previously raised $7 million in seed funds.

HaptX also announced a collaboration with Advanced Input systems, a maker of human-machine interface technologies that it says are used in medical, industrial, defense, and gaming industries. Eric Ballew, president of Advanced Input Systems, says in a HaptX statement, “HaptX and Advanced Input Systems are overcoming a long-standing technology gap of seamlessly connecting the physical world to the virtual world.”

The collaboration is expected to span product development, manufacturing, and marketing, but financial and intellectual property details were not disclosed.

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