Reactive Grip™ touch feedback has been built into devices with two different form factors: a handle-based device that is similar to current motion controllers (held in a “power grip”) and a precision/pinch grip device, for interactions with greater precision. Both devices are a work-in-progress, but our initial efforts will focus on the commercialization of our handle-based Reactive Grip™ motion controller. We will revisit our precision/pinch grip device designs for applications such as robotic surgery once we have established a VR developer community.
Reactive Grip™ touch feedback can be used to convey motion and force information using tactile feedback integrated into the handle of a device. The device utilizes sliding contactor plates in the handle. Translational motions and forces can be portrayed along the length of the handle by moving the plates in unison in the corresponding direction; whereas moving opposing slider plates in opposite directions creates the feeling of the device’s handle wrenching within the user’s grasp. Because of its ability to recreate the skin sensations of actually holding an object, this type of feedback creates an engaging experience that brings gaming interactions to life. We have named this feedback technology “Reactive Grip” Tactile Feedback, since the device responds or reacts to the user’s motions and actions.
This technology is compatible with motion-based controller interfaces, such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony Move, or Microsoft Kinect, and could also make a formidable pairing with a head mounted display for unprecedented levels of immersion and realism in a virtual reality gaming environment. The current game controller prototype uses a Razer Hydra as its motion tracking system, but our tactile feedback technology is not tracker dependent.
Multiple moving contactors can be used to communicate to interact with a user, and the use of multiple contactors placed opposite each other (back-to-back) can be used to create torque-like (or rotary) sensations. That is, when moving the two contactors in the same direction this produces a translational cue but when moved in opposite directions this produces a rotational cue. This type of feedback can be built into the handle of a device to give translational and rotational cues to a person’s hand, as shown in our Reactive Grip™ motion controller above. However, by placing the contactors at the fingertips it is possible to achieve more dexterous interactions with virtual and remote environments.
Tactical Haptics will pursue the commercialization of our Precision Grip Devices more vigorously once we’ve gained a foothold with our Reactive Grip™ motion controller devices. However, please do let us know if you have applications in mind for these devices or if you would like to partner on a project that might benefit from the feedback provided by these devices.