Old Dominion University, HaptX, Georgia Tech receive grant for VR for the visually impaired

Old Dominion University, Washington-based HaptX and Georgia Institute of Technology won a grant to further virtual reality development for the visually impaired using glove-based streaming of braille characters and digital images. 

The project will explore how visually impaired people experience virtual environments by using HaptX gloves to interact with streaming digital images and objects.

HaptX G1 glove technology simulates touch sensation with microfluidic actuation for use in VR and robotics. The company’s haptic gloves fit like conventional work gloves and can be used in a variety of settings.  

The goal of the project is to create a virtual Braille UI design with auditory displays. The partners will develop proof of concept, study feasibility, build a model for a Phase II prototype and assess commercial potential.  

“This project offers an altruistic aspect in crafting a technical solution that can make a difference in the integration and instruction of the Visually Impaired community,” Dr. Michel Audette, co-principal investigator and professor at ODU Batten College of Engineering and Technology, said in a statement. 

“At the same time, computer-assisted medicine is undergoing an algorithmic revolution in the form of deep neural networks and freely available source code and data repositories. New collaborations arise serendipitously and lead to projects that none of us could have foreseen. This is true of my relationship with HaptX; my original interest involved a proposal on obstetrics simulation based on their haptic glove.” 


HaptX raised $12 million in Series A funding in 2021, which brought the company’s total raise to $31 million at the time. Investors included Verizon Ventures, Mason Avenue Investments, Taylor Frigon Capital Partners and Upheaval Investments. 

Simultaneously, HaptX opened its headquarters in Redmond, Washington and used the extra space to expand its team. 

HaptX closed a $23 million funding round led by AIS Global and Crescent Cove Advisors in 2022. The round saw additional investment from existing partners Verizon Ventures, Taylor Frigon Capital Partners and Mason Avenue Investments.  

The company planned to use that capital to jumpstart commercialization for its product suite.

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