HapTech is Aiming its Electromagnetic Haptics at Military VR Training


HapTech aiming its impressive electromagnetic recoil system toward military VR training. The company recently demonstrated how their haptic tech can scale all the way up to the Browning M2, a mounted .50 caliber machine gun.

HapTech makes an electromagnetic recoil system which is the foundation of its StrikerVR haptic guns which are designed as peripherals for high-end VR attractions. But the company also has ambitions in more serious uses of its tech and is gunning for use in military VR training.

To demonstrate that the company’s electromagnetic haptic system can scale from commercial use up to the needs of the military, HapTech integrated their simulated recoil system into a Browning M2, a widely used .50 caliber machine gun that’s been used by the US military and elsewhere since the 1930s

The company showed off their prototype at the Interservice/ Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) earlier this month, alongside partner OptiTrack which provided motion tracking tags to track all moving parts of the M2, allowing users to operate the weapon just like the real thing.

Combined with an HTC Vive Pro, also tracked with OptiTrack, attendees of the conference fired the simulated weapon in virtual reality at targets flying through the air. HapTech claims the feeling of firing the weapon is “very close to the realistic recoil,” and say that soldiers who have fired a real M2 agree.

As the M2 is a widely used armament, there’s an existing market for M2s with simulated fire for military training. Many of the haptics in M2 simulators available today are based on pneumatics. HapTech co-founder Martin Holly tells Road to VR that the company aims to build an M2 simulator that’s “more cost effective, lower maintenance, and offers better recoil” using the company’s electromagnetic recoil system.

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While the M2 shows that the company’s haptic tech can scale up to something as large as a .50 caliber machine gun, Holly says that it can also go much smaller, down to the size of a handgun. Indeed, the company is currently at work on a simulator for the M4 carbine, an assault rifle widely used in the US Army and Marine Corps, and thus widely used in existing training simulations.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Albert Hartman

    Wow, looks totally cool! I think you could probably sell for $300, maybe even $600! What do you think?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      If you think you can get an M2 for under that price..