HaptX says it is moving on from developer kits and taking pre-orders for its next generation haptic gloves targeting release in Q3 2023.
The G1 Gloves from HaptX start at $5,495 per pair along with an air compressing backpack expected to weigh around 17 pounds. The backpack pushes air into “hundreds of microfluidic actuators that physically displace your skin,” according to the company. The gloves come in four sizes with HaptX offering a bundled four-pack with each size included for around $18,000. There’s an additional subscription plan required with the gloves at nearly $500 per month for ongoing service and maintenance.
HaptX frequently appears at tradeshows like CES and never publicly revealed the prices for its earlier development kits. We suspected them priced in the five figures with HaptX saying this latest model is “a fraction of the cost” of its previous DK2. The G1, then, moves the price down into four figures. That’s still far from consumer markets but the progress highlights the slow but steady advance toward a realistic sense of touch for virtual reality.
In recent years standalone VR headsets like Pico 4, Quest 2, and Vive Focus 3 have moved VR from back-strapped PCs toward broader consumer appeal. While backpack PCs are high-priced and inconvenient, they still found a foothold for use in enterprises and VR arcades. The G1 may essentially target similar “business applications” so that enterprises “don’t have to settle for controllers or hand-tracking,” as HaptX Chief Revenue Officer Joe Michaels said in a prepared statement.
HaptX is far from the only company attempting to commercialize more realistic haptics. Interestingly, though, Meta showed prototype technology last year that HaptX called “substantively identical” to its patents.
The company says it is asking for a “small deposit” for the HaptX Gloves G1 “to establish a shipment priority and lock in this discounted pre-order pricing.” Customers will select the glove size “and subscription options” closer to shipment.