tactical haptics reactive grip concept render

Reactive Grip is an interesting technology by Tactical Haptics which lets you feel feelback from games in the palm of your hands. The company plans to take their prototype to Kickstarter to raise money for production versions of their controller. They say that motion component of the controller will support Sixense STEM and other trackers.

I got to try Reactive Grip for myself at GDC 2013. I was definitely not expecting a few sliding bars on the grip of a controller to be able to provide a number of compelling sensations, but they certainly did. Here’s a video of me checking out a prototype of the system:

At the time the company was using a modified Razer Hydra for the motion tracking. The company’s latest update indicates that the controller will have a slot to insert a STEM tracker, to handle the motion sensing, along with buttons, a joystick, and a trigger on each controller. The size and weight of the latest prototype has also been significantly decreased compared to the prototype that I saw at GDC 2013:

tactical haptics reactive grip prototype size comparison

Tactical Haptics ran a survey a few week backs to solicit feedback from potential Kickstarter backers. They shared some of their findings in an update on their Facebook page:

  • Our survey results show that people want us to include an integrated trigger, buttons, and thumbstick, so we’ve listened and our device will include these features.
  • Also, an overwhelming number of people now prefer that we use an external/attachable tracker — the Sixense STEM system (and a few would like PrioVR tracker), so we’ll plan on this tracking option.
  • We plan on supporting an option to take the STEM out out your Sixense controller and put it into our controller, and use our controller with the base station of your Sixense STEM system.
  • We’ve also just started talking with the folks at PrioVR, so that may be a tracking option as well in the future.
  • As some of you may have heard on the podcast I did with Rev VR, we think we have a way of being able to set a low enough volume target on Kickstarter that we think we can be successful — 750 to 1,000 single-handed controllers.
  • Our current plan will be to take a hybrid manufacturing approach using a combination of 3D printing and injection molding in order to keep tooling costs and lead times down, yet produce a durable haptic controller.
  • We’ve also found that a majority of people are happy if we provide an SDK, some demos, and example code for some of the demos, so this will also be part of our plan for Kickstarter.

There’s no word yet on exactly when the Kickstarter will launch, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

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