ST Engineering Antycip has partnered with HaptX, a US-based manufacturer of wearable technology that enables natural haptic interaction in virtual reality (VR) and robotics. The new partnership will see ST Engineering Antycip extend HaptX’s reach into western Europe, creating awareness of the company’s technologies through its extensive existing customer base.

Based on its patented microfluidics technology, the new HaptX Gloves G1 system combines tactile actuators, a lightweight force-feedback exoskeleton and pneumatic components to replicate the sensation of real-world objects using haptic feedback. Complemented by the Airpack, a lightweight device which generates the airflow key to providing realistic tactile interaction, HaptX Gloves offer enterprise users a realistic haptic solution in a flexible, wireless package. The HaptX SDK (software development kit), meanwhile, enables developers to implement lifelike touch in their applications, including multi-user functionality.

The haptic feedback delivered by HaptX Gloves is synergistic with immersive simulation systems using high-performance VR headsets, offering the capacity to even more fully enshroud users in true-to-life virtual reality.

John Mould, commercial development manager for ST Engineering Antycip, explains what the new partnership means in practical terms for ST Engineering Antycip customers: “Out of the box, HaptX works with the Unreal and Unity rendering engines, which are widely adopted by many of our customers, and the SDK enables integration with other VR and simulation software, which means the application of this technology can be introduced to almost any requirement that would benefit from this level of human interaction.

“Surgical and medical applications, where the precise touch and handling of instruments is key, are obvious focuses where HaptX will shine, and vehicle prototyping – whereby the manufacturer can appreciate controls, cockpit and cabin interior designs, and finishes way before any expensive physical mock-ups are considered, and in some cases removing the need for such stages where possible – is another. For hands-on tasks to handle equipment and technology, the gloves will allow procedural training and learning in general to become more natural as an experience to the users before they are asked to effectively and efficiently repeat such tasks in the real world.”

Linda Jacobson, director of marketing for HaptX, is on the same page about the benefits of the partnership, explaining that ST Engineering Antycip can help drive broader international adoption of the company’s technology in a number of areas, including “training in any industry sector that involves learning hands-on procedures requiring precise manual dexterity, from surgical training and heavy-equipment operation to hazardous materials handling”, as well as “product design prototyping, especially involving human factors and ergonomics, and telerobotics control.”

Looking to the future of the partnership, Jacobson adds that she is excited to see the implementation of HaptX Gloves in both companies’ customers’ VR and robotics systems – as well as future developments enabling tactile and force feedback beyond the hands, on a full-body basis.

“Given ST Engineering Antycip’s focus on providing custom virtual-reality immersive display environments, the abilities enabled by HaptX will complement our current portfolio, allowing us to offer more unique solutions,” concludes Mould.

“For training and simulation clients, which historically represent the backbone of our business, HaptX opens new possibilities for procedural training, taking it to another level.”

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