The new IMAX VR Centres aim to fuse the best arcade VR games with the best peripherals, for an experience you can’t get from your home VR headset. For the new (and awkwardly named) Justice League: An IMAX VR Exclusive experience the Centre is set to debut the ‘Reactive Grip’ haptic controller from Tactical Haptics.

Tactical Haptics has been on the VR scene since the early days, developing their novel haptic technology which they call Reactive Grip.

The unique haptic tech incorporates sliding bars into the palm-grip of a controller, which can apply shear forces that replicate the feeling of an object moving within your hand (like the grip of a pistol, sword, or tennis racket twisting and pushing back against your palm). It’s a convincing and immersive effect that can’t be achieved with traditional rumble haptics.

Image courtesy Tactical Haptics

Tactical Haptics has continued to develop the tech over the last few years but hasn’t quite found a fit in the evolving VR market landscape. The company took the project to Kickstarter back in 2013 (years before Touch or Vive were announced), but failed to garner enough support from developers in the nascent VR community (hardly an ‘industry’ at that point). Last year the company raised $2.2 million, and has been exploring new opportunities afforded by the growing out-of-home VR entertainment market.

Hands-on with TEGway's VR Thermal Haptics Dev Kit, Launching in March

Now the company has announced that the Reactive Grip controller will see its commercial debut in a pilot project that pairs the device with the Justice League: An IMAX VR Exclusive experience in the IMAX VR Centre in Los Angeles to start:

The integrated haptic feedback will allow players to step into the shoes of the iconic DC Super Heroes and experience the inertia and impact of swinging Wonder Woman’s sword, the recoil of Cyborg’s white noise gun and mini-cannons, or the feeling of the drag reducing on Flash’s hands as they accelerate through a subway tunnel to save Metropolis.

The latest version of the controller is said to be “simplified, more robust, and more integrated than […] prior controller designs,” and is made to support both the Vive Tracker and Oculus Touch as tracking options. Tactical Haptics says they’ll be offering more details on their latest Reactive Grip controller design later this year and at the start of 2018 at CES.

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  • Puzaro

    So I went to ImaxVR in LA (was there 12/3) to try them out but they don’t have these controllers yet. They also didn’t know what I was talking about when I mentioned that I read about new haptic controllers for this experience.

    • Tactical Haptics

      Sorry for the slow response…
      We talked with the IMAX VR folks in LA and they assured us that our haptic controllers are set up and available. That said, they are only available for the “standing” Justice League characters, which are Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and the Flash. We highly recommend Wonder Woman and Cyborg, depending on whether you like melee or shooter games.

  • Ainar

    Um, so it’s a stick that slides up and down in your hand? Yeah, that doesn’t sound awkward at all… Although it might be better than what first came to mind after connecting “reactive grip” and the Justice League.