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Emerge, a social virtual connection company focusing on building within the metaverse, today announced the launch of the Emerge Home system, which lets you use your hands in the metaverse. In anticipation of the launch of Emerge Home, Emerge also raised an additional $13 million from strategic investors to finalize product development and support its early adopter community.

It’s the company’s first product that enables an immersive bare-hands tactile experience, and cofounders Sly Lee and Isaac Castro demonstrated this on Wednesday at our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2 online event.

A recent study from National Research Group, uncovering consumer views of the metaverse, found that the majority are excited about the metaverse, but 78% of consumers say “when interacting with people virtually, I miss the ability to physically touch and interact with them.”

Online, we miss non-verbal cues, sensory experiences, and ways of feeling things together. As virtual worlds become the epicenter of shared social experiences, they still lack a key pillar of our human experience — the ability to use our bare hands to feel, interact, and physically connect with those who matter most to us, our “inner circles,” Emerge said.

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The Emerge Home system consists of three components: the Emerge Wave-1 device, the Emerge Home social virtual experience, and the Emerge Home mobile app. The Emerge Wave-1 is a new tabletop device that invites your bare hands to be your controllers.

Around the same footprint as a 13-inch laptop, it emits sculpted ultrasonic waves that allow users to feel and interact
via touch in the virtual world. Through the use of Emerge’s patented technology, the Emerge Wave-1 creates a mid-air field of interaction up to three feet above the device and 120 degrees around it.

“Emerge represents the next paradigm shift in human interaction,” said Lee, co-CEO of Emerge, in a statement. “Emerge Home’s goal is to take people beyond the screen and allow them to connect emotionally in a natural way, no matter the distance between them.”

Emerge is building a family of products that makes it possible for users to physically feel tactile experiences with bare hands in a virtual space without the need for gloves, controllers, or any wearables.

”Emerge Home is the first step in a broader journey to create a new language of touch in the virtual world,” said Castro, co-CEO of Emerge, in a statement. “We are starting with virtual reality today, and exploring other interfaces in the near future. Instead of attempting to replicate the feeling of reality, Emerge focuses on communicating emotions through virtual tactile experiences.”

Notable new investors contributing capital and unique expertise, include Matthew Ball of EpyllionCo, Trousdale Ventures, Riot Games cofounder Marc Merrill, Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, MEMS expert Kurt Petersen, and patent firm Schox. These investors joined Emerge’s previous investors including M13 and Vulcan Capital.

The Emerge Home system and Emerge Wave-1 device will be made publicly available in February on Kickstarter, at a retail value of $500 for a limited time.

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