Facebook's haptic feedback glove lets you touch things in the metaverse

Facebook-owned Meta is developing a haptic feedback glove that will add touch sensations to its nebulously defined Metaverse VR and AR environments. Sure, it looks like something out of a Predator movie, but a device like this is one step toward true VR immersion, which is impossible to achieve without the senses of touch and taste. We have no idea how to avoid the latter, but even if we could, would we want to? VR will need technology like this to break free from its entertainment and fun-only stereotype and become a commonplace part of life and work.

People can touch, feel, and manipulate virtual objects the same way they would a real object, according to Reality Labs director Sean Keller (via Gizmodo). Trigger actuators in the glove apply pressure to the hand depending on the virtual object being handled.

Meta aspires to scale up to thousands of actuators, allowing it to simulate an almost infinite number of scenarios. Sporting events, video games, and handshakes are all popular, and let's face it, sex sells, so there's bound to be a slew of new applications in the works. But then there's the issue of privacy and security. Before such technology becomes mainstream, there is still a long way to go.

Despite Meta's lofty ambitions, its glove isn't the first attempt at creating a haptic feedback device, and let's be honest, it looks rough, clunky, and years away from release, if it ever gets released at all. There's also the need to persuade the general public that virtual reality has real-world applications beyond entertainment. Before that happens, it appears that we have a long way to go.

Meta hasn't revealed any information about availability, pricing, or a name for the project. We all know it's not going to be called the Power Glove. Time will tell whether this technology finds a real-world application, or whether it is remembered as a cool concept or a complete flop.