Introducing 'Touch' In the Metaverse
Our aim is to help people connect over the metaverse and to provide our customers with experiences they won't be able to forget: Sly Lee
Technology is changing the way people live. The advent of Web became an inflection point in terms of technological innovation. The Web 1.0 was launched in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and consumers witnessed its evolution over the years. The second generation of Web, popularly known as Web 2.0, was defined by Dale Dougherty as the 'read and write web' in 2004. Web 2.0 has also been called the participative social Web. Web 2.0 refers to the way Web pages are designed and used and there is no modification in the technical specification. Interaction and collaboration with individuals are allowed by Web 2.0 in a social media dialogue as the creator of user-generated content in a virtual community. The introduction of Web3.0 and decentralization at its core has changed the game.
Metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrency, blockchain, etc., have all become buzzwords today. Virtual reality and augmented reality have come to the fore to revolutionize how consumers perceive digital realities. AR/VR provides an immersive experience engaging an individual's vision and hearing abilities. However, enabling touch in the metaverse has been a holy grail since first attempts in the haptic space in the 1970s. Emerge.io engages the ability to touch and feel in digital realities. Emerge.io was the brainchild of Sly Lee, Isaac Castro Garcia and Mauricio Teran. A fortunate encounter of the trio inspired them to start their own company after meeting at Singularity University in 2015 for a Google/NASA sponsored program.
The company went under two years of rigorous research and development. The company has raised $36.4 million to date. According to a Bloomberg report, the metaverse market is set to grow over $800 billion by 2024. Lee said in an interaction with Entrepreneur India, "We believe the metaverse is the next evolution of the internet, where presence is at the core, moving from 2D to 3D and from two senses to new levels of human perception, blurring physical and digital worlds, and where trust and emotion will be our most important currencies." The company is bullish on not being focussed on just facilitating touch. Emerge intends to transcend just touch to something which is much more emotional.
Emerge uses ultrasound sensors in its products to help people feel connected over distance and time through immersive experience. Emerge has developed micro-electromechanical system based solutions that utilizes silicon microfabrication technique, producing smaller ultrasound emitters that are powerful, precise and budget-friendly as compared to existing solutions in the market.
"We have always been focussed on the emotional side of things. Our aim is to help people connect through touch and emotion in the metaverse. We're enabling people to express themselves in ways that they just cannot through voice and visuals alone," added Lee.
Physical touch in digital realities has long been a dream for the science fiction fans. However, Emerge has brought it to fruition after partnering with many MEMS specialists such as Kurt Petersen who is acting as an investor and advisor for Emerge. Emerge also announced its partnership with TRIPP, an XR wellness company, to find out how tactility can improve mental health and human connection within the metaverse.
The company intends to focus on its beta community feedback this year and grow the community organically. Their MEMS sensor program will enable them to scale when the VR and AR market reaches an inflection point, which many believe will happen when Apple launches their XR headset or when Meta releases Project Cambria later this year. The company is based out of Marina Del Rey, California. India is developing as an emerging Web 3.0 market and is growing by leaps and bounds. Lee feels that right circumstances and support would be important for India to unlock its potential to become a huge market.