Prototype controller adds haptic feedback to analog sticks

You can have my keyboard and mouse when you pry them from my cold, dead hands, but I can’t deny the popularity of game controllers with dual analog sticks. Plenty of games simply work better with a controller than they do with a keyboard and mouse. Controllers offer force feedback in the form of vibration, too. If a group of engineers from the University of Utah have their way, next-generation gamepads will also feature a form of haptic feedback that tugs at one’s fingertips.

The design is based on dual analog sticks, so it’s not reinventing the wheel. Atop each stick sits a little nubbin that looks not unlike the TrackPoint found on ThinkPad notebooks. This “tactor” is capable of moving in different directions, pulling the player’s fingertip along with it. Its creators suggest the motion can be used to simulate impacts, firearm recoil, the rolling waves of an ocean, or the nibble of a fish at the end of a line. That’s right, the controller has applications for not only Modern Warfare, but also Rapala Pro Bass Fishing.

A prototype controller is currently being demoed at the Haptics Symposium in Vancouver, Canada, although it sounds like the software is still a work in progress. I hope it gets sorted out soon, because well-executed haptic feedback can add a lot to the gaming experience. Thanks to Slashdot for the tip.

Comments closed
    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    SEGA Bass Fishing is where it’s at, on the Dreamcast with the rod/reel controller. Best fishing experience that you can have without baiting a hook.

    Then again I’d rather go sit on a lake.

    • gmskking
    • 8 years ago

    Really? I could care less about vibrating controllers. In fact, I hate it when mine vibrates. Waste of batteries. This is not anything special at all.

      • Myrmecophagavir
      • 8 years ago

      You mean you [i<]couldn't[/i<] care less.

        • glacius555
        • 8 years ago

        Did you change your username, Meadows?

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Multiplaying

        • Grigory
        • 8 years ago

        Thank you! I hate that people make this mistake.

    • Noigel
    • 8 years ago

    A controller that feels just like pressing on someone’s eyeballs.

    Yep, you’re welcome.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 8 years ago

    That ThinkPad “nub” is definitely the reason why I won’t ever buy a non-Thinkpad laptop. I’ve used the HP and Dell versions, they aren’t nearly close to its functionality/speed/precision/feedback as the ThinkPad units.

      • ermo
      • 8 years ago

      Did you know that [url=http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/tecra<]Toshiba's Tecra business laptops[/url<] also include a [s<]clicktoris[/s<] trackpoint? You're welcome.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 8 years ago

    Breaks and/or wears out in ____ months ? I’m guessing 3.

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      Depends on the quality of the parts used, but most likely a fragile part I’ll agree.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    This sound pretty cool.

    I don’t know how many people around here played MGS4, but that game had incredible usage of the vibration feature. I can only image what Kojima would come up with with this.

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