Monday, 14 May 2012

A New Form of Haptic Feedback

A team at the University of Utah are developing a game controller which takes haptic feedback to the next level. Modern controllers currently vibrate to add an extra sensory level to the whole gaming experience. The new controller developed generates this sense of feedback through small moving parts built in to the joysticks, felt by the thumbs. Some examples were used, one being the feeling of recoil when a gun is fired in game. Instead of the controller simply vibrating, the small parts within the joysticks could jolt back and forth. The team have also produced a fishing game to demonstrate the use for the unique controller. The joysticks moving to signal the direction which a hooked fish is pulling on the line.

It will be interesting to see if this new form of haptic feedback is introduced by some of the leading console companies such as Sony and Microsoft. It is interesting to see this market for immersive gaming experiences. There is a constant emphasis on engaging the players senses and pulling them in to the virtual game worlds created. As well as the player aiming to complete set objectives as a form of entertainment, games companies are striving for their games to be rich immersive experiences. What is fascinating about gaming is that the player is given control. Film does not offer this level of interaction. This is likely why developers see it important to utilise this hands on interaction with the use of haptic feedback, and why the team in Utah have seen a market for their new controller concept.

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