Tactical Haptics “Reactive Grip” with Multi-Pose™ Magnet Sockets is a versatile and multi platform VR force feedback system: developer kit available on May 29th
About Reactive Grip™ touch feedback
The company’s advanced touch feedback works by mimicking the friction and shear forces that we feel in the real world when holding an object or touching a surface. The touch feedback system works by tracking the movements of the player’s hand (e.g., using a Vive Tracker, Oculus Touch, Windows MR, Vicon, or OptiTrack tracking system) and actuating small sliding plates on the surface of the grip-region of the controller. These plates recreate the friction and shear forces that are naturally experienced when holding an actual object such as a baseball bat, slingshot, or fishing rod . In addition to gaming, this touch feedback can also be used in augmented reality, telerobotic interfaces for manufacturing and maintenance, industrial and construction operator interfaces, toys (e.g., light saber), pilot training interfaces, automotive navigation and safety systems, computer-aided design (CAD), education, laparoscopic or telerobotic surgery, rehabilitation, swing training, or to guide the blind.
Enterprise Dev Kit Presentation
Mountain View, California, USA – May 16, 2019 – Tactical Haptics will discuss details and give demos of the company’s new Reactive Grip™ enterprise development kit at the Silicon Valley VR Meetup in Mountain View, CA. At the 6th Year Anniversary SVVR Meetup, the company will discuss opening pre-orders on their website on Wednesday May 29 for their new haptic controller enterprise dev kit. The dev kit pre-orders are targeted toward enterprise training, location-based entertainment (LBE), and R&D customers. Pricing is anticipated to range from $650 for a single enterprise dev kit controller to $1,500 for a pair of fully-loaded enterprise dev kit controllers. The company anticipates an initial ship date of Q4 2019 for the first batch of dev kit pre-orders.
The opening of enterprise dev kit pre-orders will directly precede the debut of a new collaboration with VR game maker Reality Smash at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, CA on May 30-31, so that people who haven’t yet discovered the magic of Reactive Grip™ Shear Feedback can experience it – “feeling is believing” (see video on right). The company will show their Reactive Grip™ controllers integrated with the VR LBE climbing game, Sweet Escape, in the AWE “Playground” expo area.
The company’s enterprise dev kit design embodies the learning from the simplified controller design first shown at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and 2018 Game Developers Conference (GDC). However, the dev kit is now more modular and manufacturable for increased customizability at reduced expense. The design update was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The enterprise dev kit controllers incorporate Reactive Grip™ shear feedback, which is a new form of touch feedback that mimics the tangential shear and friction forces one experiences when interacting with real objects. These shear forces are applied within the user’s hand by sliding plates on the surface of the game controller. By tracking the user’s motions and applying shear feedback in proportion to the user’s interaction forces, we are able to create powerful haptic illusions of elasticity, inertia, and impacts (see below video). The company has already developed demos that enable users to experience the stretch of a bow and arrow, the inertia of a swinging ball & chain, the impact and resistance of striking an opponent with a sword, the tug of a fish, or the kick of a gun. The company’s dev kit will allow developers to incorporate these haptic interactions into their own VR applications as well as to develop their own haptic effects.
The company’s enterprise dev kit is modular, allowing it to be customized and configured with accessory brackets to suit your tracking and interaction needs. The foundation of the company’s dev kit is the “Core Controller.” The Core Controller has a symmetrical design and comprises a handle with two actuated shear plates and multiple mount-points for attaching the accessory brackets that allow users to customize the dev kit. The Core Controller also includes an IMU (inertial measurement unit) that provides 3-axis rotational tracking data and a replaceable battery that can be charged internally via a bullet-plug interface on the Core Controller and provided power supply. Battery life during normal use is approximately 2 hours, and can be fully recharged in approximately 1 hour. The Core Controller also incorporates standard VR game controller inputs, including analog thumb joystick and trigger, as well as standard input buttons including thumb joystick button, menu button, and grip buttons, as well as 4 other buttons neighboring the thumb joystick (mapped as A/B, X/Y buttons on right and left sides of the thumb joystick).
The enterprise dev kit was specifically designed to be modular so that we could accommodate multiple VR ecosystems in a single product design. It would have been prohibitively expensive to have separate dev kit designs with integral Steam VR and Oculus Constellation tracking. Hence, among the available accessory brackets, the Reactive Grip™ dev kit has several tracker brackets available that allow the dev kit to be used in the PC VR ecosystem of choice. The company has tracker brackets for the Vive Tracker, which allow the dev kit to be used in combination with the Valve Index, HTC Vive, or other Steam VR headsets (e.g., Pimax, StarVR). The company also has a tracker bracket that allows Oculus Touch controllers to slide securely into a controller mount to provide tracking when the dev kit is used with the Oculus Rift. Thus far, only out-side-in Oculus tracker brackets have been designed and tested, but the company also plans to offer tracker brackets for inside-out tracking using newer Touch controllers (e.g., for use with the Rift S). Similarly, the company also plans to offer a tracker bracket to attach a Windows Mixed Reality controller for providing tracking when used with a Windows MR headset. Tracker brackets for other tracking options may also be added to the pre-order site, based on demand (e.g., OptiTrack or Vicon).
In addition to multiple accessory brackets for tracking, the Core Controller also supports the addition of Multi-Pose™ Magnet Sockets, an innovation that the company debuted at CES 2018. Multi-Pose™ Magnet Sockets are a new concept for reconfiguring controllers on-the-fly using magnets. These magnet sockets provide connect-points on each of the controllers to form semi-rigid connections between the controllers. This allows users to transform their VR interactions by acting out their intended actions with their hands – keeping them immersed in the VR experience (see neighboring video). For example, in a shooter game a user wielding pistols could join the controllers together in the side-by-side gamepad pose to form a deck gun, or join the controllers in the machine gun pose to form a Tommy gun. It should be noted that the modularity of the Core Controller also allows for other future mods that are as yet TBD, which the company hopes will stimulate the creativity of its partners and the maker community.
The company’s pre-order site will allow customers to pre-order a single dev kit controller or a pair of dev kit controllers, and to configure these enterprise dev kits to include a specific tracker bracket and/or Multi-Pose™magnet brackets. The single-controller dev kits will be available with right or left-handed tracker brackets (to match the right/left controller that will socket into each tracker bracket) for $650. The dual-controller dev kits will be available as a right-left controller pair with optional tracker brackets and/or Multi-Pose™ magnet brackets ($1,500 with both tracker and Multi-Pose™ brackets). Multi-Pose™ brackets are only offered with the dual-controller dev kit, as the Multi-Pose™ brackets form a left-right pair of controllers that users can connect together (and hence is not-applicable for a single controller).
The Core Controller is planned to be made of injection molded plastics, whereas accessory brackets (tracker & Multi-Pose™ brackets) may be made of high-quality 3D print materials (such as SLS nylon). Dev kits are projected to begin shipping in Q4 2019. Pre-orders will open first for US-based shipping and billing addresses. For interest in international pre-orders or for developers that need earlier access to dev kits to support integration of Reactive Grip™controllers into their game or app, please contact the company at its “info@” email address. The company hopes to make a limited number of early 3D printed dev kits available, though the high cost of the small-batch 3D-printed parts will mean these early dev kits will be more expensive that the Q4 production units.
The enterprise dev kits will ship with demo builds of the company’s tech demos and an SDK with plugins for both the Unity and Unreal game engines. The company is also excited to partner LBE game makers looking to differentiate their Arcade/LBE VR experiences by adding Reactive Grip™ game support. The company will be debuting the integration of Reactive Grip™ with Reality Smash’s climbing game Sweet Escape at the upcoming AWE conference May 30-31 in the AWE Playground area, to show the potential of Reactive Grip™ touch feedback to level-up VR arcade experiences beyond what consumers can experience at home.
Tactical Haptics founder, William Provancher, will be discussing the company’s enterprise dev kit and pre-order launch, as well as giving demos, at the May 16 SVVR Meetup – SVVR’s 6-year anniversary. The company is currently taking on new partnerships in location-based entertainment (LBE) and enterprise training as it brings its new dev kit into production.