Ultrasound sensor tech to enable the ‘tactile metaverse’
The consumer technology company is building a family of products that makes it possible for users to physically feel tactile experiences with bare hands in a virtual space without the need of gloves, controllers, or any wearables. The new device uses ultrasound waves to create a tangible mid-air force around virtual objects and interactions.
Instead of trying to replicate the feeling of reality, the company says it is aiming to create a new language of touch that focuses on communicating emotions.
“As we progress into this next era of computing and social presence in what is now being widely referred to as ‘the metaverse,’ we at Emerge are really interested in enabling experiences that bring you closer to the people who matter to you,” says Sly Lee, CEO of Emerge. “With great partners, we’ve innovated at the ground level, which now enables a world of benefits and scaling opportunities that just weren’t possible before.”
Creating the sense of touch over distance has faced significant limitations in the capabilities of existing sensors that prevented this from becoming a reality at scale. For the past two years, the company says that it has been developing a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS)-based solution that utilizes silicon microfabrication techniques to produce a new class of ultrasound emitter that is smaller, more powerful, more precise, and at significantly lower cost than existing solutions.
This innovation in MEMS technology, says the company, will enable it to scale its future products in the metaverse – an immersive digital environment where people interact as avatars, which is forecast to be an $800 billion dollar market opportunity by 2024.
“Our vision,” says Isaac Castro, CTO of Emerge, “is to create consumer experiences where technology is as invisible as possible to the user. This breakthrough allows us to get closer to that future of immersive ambient computing where our products blend seamlessly into our surroundings, putting the human experience first.”