Feel your virtual scimitar twist in your hands with Reactive Grip controller


Reactive Grip

A company called Tactical Haptics demonstrated their new device at GDC 2013 last month. The company was founded by Professor William Provancher earlier this year for the purpose of commercializing haptic feedback technologies.

The device, called Reactive Grip, uses four moving sliders on the handle to simulate certain feelings and movements while the user is holding it. For example, when shooting a gun in-game, the sliders move in such a way that the user feels kickback from the gun. When swinging a morning star around their head, the sliders move in such a way that the user can feel the grip twisting in their hand as they swing the morning star.

Though the design is relatively simple, it allows the device to create an impressively convincing sensation. Companies have always tried to design hardware that makes your gaming experience more immersive. From rumble packs to voice command microphones, the limits of technology have made progress very slow.

As such, most of the immersion has to come from the game itself. This is something that many people, myself included, prefer. I’d rather have a good old controller or a mouse and keyboard but for some, this isn’t enough. Luckily for them, technology has gotten to the point where immersive hardware actually has a future. Starting with the Wii Remote, the last generation of consoles saw the introduction of advanced motion controllers like the Kinect and PlayStation Move.

Now, with the upcoming release of Oculus Rift and Reactive Grip, we seem to be taking big steps, not only towards more immersive games, but towards virtual reality. Tactical Haptics intends to launch a Kickstarter this summer to gather funds for developer kits.

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