In Weird New Control Pad, Controller Controls *You*

We've had controller feedback since the N64 and Starfox 64, but what if a control pad had the ability to stretch your thumb tips in different directions, simulating the tug of a fishing line, or the recoil of a gun? This is what engineers at the University of Utah are attempting to create — the controller that controls you.

"We have developed feedback modes that enhance immersiveness and realism for gaming scenarios such as collision, recoil from a gun, the feeling of being pushed by ocean waves or crawling prone in a first-person shooter game," said William Provancher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.

A patent on the above controller is currently pending, but Provancher hopes to have the controller in stores in the next couple of years.

Thoughts? I can think of a couple of interesting in-game applications. For example, I used to love the way steering wheels would lock and push back in arcade racers. It would be great to see uses of this technology reflecting the ways in which virtual worlds can push back on the player

New Direction for Game Controllers: Prototypes Tug at Thumb Tips to Enhance Video Gaming [Science Daily]

Thanks OneOfTheJonesBoys!


    I love how their first demo has one "real world" example(Prone Crawl), and then a bunch of abstract ones.

    Still, that's kind of cool, I'd love to see how it actually feels, as it looks a bit odd.

    This is what motion controls need. Without force feedback, lightsabre fighting games will just be random waggling.

    In Soviet Russia, controller control YOU etc.

    Also - that picture in the bottom left corner of the screenshot looks like he's playing some kind of nipple-tweaking simulator.

    What an awesome idea. I can imagine a feature like this making things like Quick Time Events much more tolerable in games, especially if there's distinctive feedback based on the on-screen action. Imagine some of the insane stuff in Asura's Wrath with this controller - for example blocking a sword strike with both hands is even done using two analogue sticks. It would compliment those motions so well.

    That is the most bad-ass fishing music ever!

    But also, this is pretty cool, I like the "something different" approach here.

      It's Still More Fightin by Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy VII). But yeah, rather interesting concept too.

    Very cool. Rumble has not advanced since Lylat Wars so it's nice to see something change.

      Those ladies lucky enough to have got hold of the Rez Trance Vibrator might disagree with you.

    Sega FFVII Boss Fight Fishing

    I've always wished someone would put PC-joystick-style force feedback on analog sticks. Driving games especially would benefit hugely from this. Imagine in an FPS, when you get hit by bullets from the left, if the control stick jerked to the right at the exact opposite angle? It could be as useful as surround sound in identifying enemy positions. It'd also add an extra level of tension if it's harder to control your character whilst under heavy fire.
    I guess the battery requirements and wear and tear on the mechanics would be a problem, but still... I want it.

    What I'm still waiting for is an exosuit with simulated tendons that can be tightened and released according to the game. Using a system like Kinect, the game can translate your real world position and pose into game co-ordinates and then emulate the tactile response for objects in game. Say you reach out and touch a wall, the exosuit will pull back on the "tendons" in your arm to emulate the resistance of the wall. If something grabbed you on the arm, the tendons would tighten around your arm to emulate pressure on it.

    Something kind of like the Novint Falcon, but for your whole body.

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