March 6, 2012
New game controller prototype tugs on player’s thumb tips
The folks at University of Utah have come up with a new type of video game controller which sort of tickles the player’s thumbs, not in a distracting way, but as an extension of their gaming experience. It gives players sensation of the tug of a fishing line, the recoil of a gun or the feeling of ocean waves. It also delivers directional cues to the player by stretching the skin of the thumb tips in different directions. There are feedback modes here which accentuate gamers’ involvement 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.
As the first look, the prototype here looks quite plastic version of those made for Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s PlayStation. The major point of differentiation here is its normal thumb joysticks. In the new controller, the middle of each ring-shaped thumb stick has a round, red ‘tactor’. The researchers are hoping that they’d successfully put this into production in the coming years.