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.
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.