Ubuntu Lucid has removed hal support which is required for (proprietary) Oracle VirtualBox to use local USB devices inside your VM. Until VirtualBox is eventually ported to the hal-less world you can start hal daemon before running VirtualBox as a workaround.

The solution is to get closed source free for evaluation and personal usage version of Oracle VirtualBox (you can use the package from the karmic repository), add yourself to the vboxusers group (if not already) and start hald in no daemon mode: sudo hald –daemon=no.

Use lsusb -v to get vendor/product ids if you would like to setup a filter inside VM USB controller properties so your local device can be auto connected when the VM starts.