Ahead of GDC 2014 next week, Tactial Haptics has revealed a new prototype of their impressive Reactive Grip controller. The company will be showing the new prototype at their booth on the GDC show floor. Since the first time I had my hands on the Reactive Grip controller, just about a year ago today, at last year’s GDC, I was impressed with the technology. The Reactive Grip controller integrates multiple sliding actuators on the grip which convincingly simulate pushing, pulling, and twisting forces. With motion tracking, the controllers work like the Razer Hydra, allowing the player to move their hands for 1:1 input in a VR environment. As Tactical Haptics says, it truly is a step above mere rumble.
The original prototype I tried at GDC 2013 was huge compared to the significantly sleeker prototype that the company showed at CES in January. The latest prototype, which will first be shown at GDC 2014 next week, is yet more streamlined. The front hand-guard, which made room to stow a STEM tracking module, has been removed leaving exposed a more responsive looking trigger. The bottom of the controller has been expanded which will now likely hold the motion tracking sensor. The thumbstick also looks to have received an upgrade, bringing it in line with the sticks you’d find on a modern console controller. The new prototype will be shown at booth #335 on the GDC show floor.
Tactical Haptics says that they’re currently raising money to bring the unit to market for VR developers and enthusiasts. The company ran a Kickstarter back in November which unfortunately failed to hit its goal of $175,000. It’s unclear if they’ll plan another crowd-funding campaign.
Road to VR will be at GDC next week to get our hands on the new prototype; stay tuned!