A Japanese company wants you to feel real pain in the metaverse

Welcome to the next level of immersion in the metaverse.
Ameya Paleja

This isn't the story of some sadistic horror movie but a venture that is backed by electronics giant Sony. 

H2L, a Japanese startup, has developed a wearable armband that can inflict pain on users as they experience the metaverse, Financial Times reported.  

When the biggest names of the tech industry are chasing a golden goose, how do you set yourself apart? Even with the backing of a giant like Sony, a startup does not have the resources to win over Meta or Microsoft. That's when you try something bizarre that nobody has thought of before. Luckily for H2L, they were working on this tech, even before the metaverse came along. 

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Bridging the gap between real and virtual

Emi Tamaki, H2L's founder and CEO, has a medical condition that does not let her travel and experience the way people usually can. After a near-death experience in her teens, Tamaki decided to explore haptic technologies to bridge the gap between the virtual and real worlds. 

H2L aims to release humans from the constraints of space, time, and body, before the end of this decade and has developed an armband that allows the user to experience the metaverse with haptic technology. 

The band can detect the flexing of muscles on the arm and allows the avatar to copy the user's movement in the metaverse. Using electric stimulation, it can also manipulate the arm muscles to feel sensations of events happening in the virtual world. This way, users can feel the weight of objects they lift and the force of a ball they catch, or even the pecking of a bird on their hands. 

By allowing users to feel pain from the metaverse in the real world, Tamaki believes that users can have more immersive experiences in the metaverse and even feel that they are in a real-world, FT reported. 

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Sony's big bet

H2L's product is already available for sale on its website and can be bought for as little as $82 (9,980 yen) but only in Japan as of now. Sony has backed this venture that has raised more than one billion yen ($82 million) in its short decade-long existence. 

With companies like Meta announcing their own haptics-based glove, the interest in such wearables is only bound to increase. With Sony's help, H2L's armband could be made available in global markets very soon. 

It is now up to the metaverse builders to build worlds that can leverage these technologies. 

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