Los Angeles-based Emerge announced that it raised $12 million in a Series A investment round in order to build a platform that enables users to touch and feel XR immersive content without the use of haptic gloves. In total the company has now raised $18 million to build a consumer product that enables users from distant locations to physically touch, feel and share immersive content in XR using their bare hands.
VTNation reached out Emerge for more information about how that might work, however, company CTO Isaac Castro declined to comment, except to say that they will be sharing more with developers in the coming months.
The company was founded by CEO Sly Lee, CTO Isaac Castro, and CFO and head of insights Mauricio Teran, who met at Singularity University, a Google/NASA sponsored program. The execs hold awards from MIT, Forbes and the World Economic Forum.
The development team consists of tech leaders with former roles at DFJ, GV, Daqri and Raytheon, who have helped build technologies like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Mars Rover at NASA JPL; brought consumer electronics and extended reality (XR) products to market; and who hold several patents in hardware-enabled communications technologies.
“If you think about technologies we have today to keep in touch with our loved ones from a distance, we are extremely limited in our ability to connect and feel present with them,” said Lee. “Even with technologies like XR, you’re still a spectator limited to two senses: sight and sound. We have a 10-year roadmap to build products that create the next paradigms of presence.”
“Our vision is to create a future where distance and time don’t stand in the way of feeling present. Our goal is to create new interaction standards and a new language of touch for multi-sensory XR experiences,” said Castro.
Emerge is looking to engage the developer community to create applications around a few core use cases, including XR games, education and creative play, and multi-sensory meditation and wellbeing. Some of the applications could include giving a virtual high-five, using touch-sensations to convey emotion in place of emojis, using your hands to sculpt digital clay, feeling an ocean wave, shaping and feeling music with your hands or petting a virtual pet, such as a Tamagotchi 2.0 or Pikachu.
“Recent advances in immersive displays, cloud computing and 5G, commoditization of key sensors, and advancements in AI, amongst other converging technologies hint the time is right for the transition to the next computing platform,” said Teran.
The company plans to grow its team rapidly over the next few quarters and plans to engage Unity developers and creators in early 2020.
For more information, visit www.emerge.io.