Meta — formerly Facebook — is trying to create what it describes as an embodied version of the internet, and it’s working hard on many individual pieces that are supposed to enable users to interact with it. Recently, a team at Reality Labs (RL) Research has unveiled a prototype of virtual reality haptic gloves capable of simulating complex sensations to provide their wearer with natural feedback when interacting with virtual objects.
The gloves use arrays of microfluidic actuators driven by the world’s first high-speed microfluidic processor to achieve millisecond response times while keeping power consumption minimal — something that’s extremely important for any wearable hardware device.
Once ready for release, the gloves could be used to support many virtual reality use cases. “The value of hands to solving the interaction problem in AR and VR is immense” explained RL Research Director Sean Keller. “We use our hands to communicate with others, to learn about the world, and to take action within it. We can take advantage of a lifetime of motor learning if we can bring full hand presence into AR and VR”.
Unfortunately, a lot of work still needs to be done for the technology to leave the research lab where it’s being developed. According to Keller, the team has made groundbreaking progress across multiple scientific and engineering disciplines, but the light at the end of the tunnel is only starting to become visible.
Meta isn’t the only company working on haptic gloves for virtual reality. There’s also HaptX, whose founder and CEO Jake Rubin has accused Meta of copying its patented designs. In an official statement, the company claims that Meta’s gloves appear to be substantially identical to HaptX’s patented technology.
“We welcome interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; however, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive” said Rubin. Meta has yet to respond to the accusation, so stay tuned for updates.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.