History repeats itself as Meta accused of stealing tech for new VR gloves

Meta Vr Haptic Gloves
Meta Vr Haptic Gloves (Image credit: Meta)

What you need to know

  • HaptX issued a statement linking similarities between Meta's new microfluidic haptic feedback gloves and its own products.
  • Meta's prototype gloves aren't slated for consumer product release any time soon, while HaptX has shown off their prototypes at several trade shows in the past.
  • Meta has yet to respond to the allegations, but this isn't the first time these types of accusations have happened.

Not long after Meta announced its latest prototype VR haptic gloves, the company came under fire by another VR haptic glove maker, HaptX, who accused the company of utilizing patented technology without the proper permission.

The company posted its official response to Meta's announcement via Twitter and called on Meta to get in touch with folks at HaptX to resolve the dispute. We've reached out to Meta for an official response and will update this article when we receive it.

HaptX specifically calls out the similarities to its own microfluidic haptic feedback gloves, specifically calling out "the silicone-based microfluidic tactile feedback laminate and pneumatic control architecture" of Meta's gloves as visually identical to its own prototypes.

The company points out that it hosted "many engineers, researchers, and executives" from Meta to see HaptX's own prototypes over the years and leaves little to the imagination as to how a Meta prototype could be so similar to the company's own technologies. We've seen identical allegations against Meta in the past, where the company was accused of sherlocking the fitness tracking concept that eventually became Oculus Move.

A VR haptic glove such as the one Meta showed off is designed to deliver real-world feeling to the virtual world. In short, the glove features small plates all around it that can create a sense of pressure when touching virtual objects, making them feel real. That's an important step to creating a metaverse that people can be comfortable stay in for long periods of time.

This prototype glove isn't likely to come to market on a system like the Meta Quest 2 any time soon. It's possible we could see something similar debut in the near future, but Meta's upcoming CTO Andrew Bosworth stated that much of this type of research is designed to develop products that won't debut for 10 to 15 years into the future. For now, check out Meta's trailer for its gloves below.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu