Reactive Grip is a haptic VR controller by Tactical Haptics which has finally hit Kickstarter. Reactive Grip uses sliding bars on the surface of the controller to create unique tactile sensations that go beyond mere rumble.
I got a chance to try an early Reactive Grip prototype at GDC 2013 and was quite impressed. I’ll admit that my intuition wouldn’t have said that some sliding bars would do much for haptic feedback on a controller, but they certainly do. When I tried the prototype I was very surprised at the natural feeling of stabbing a sword into a dummy or swinging a flail above my head. Even off the top of my head there are plenty of games that would greatly benefit from the haptic sensation that Reactive Grip can provide.
Today marks the beginning of the Reactive Grip dev kit Kickstarter. Tactical Haptics is hoping to raise $175,000 over the 35 days of their campaign. ‘Early Bird’ prices start at $159 for a single controller and the earliest bulk deliveries are expect in October 2014. The Reactive Grip Kickstarter video features a number of prevalent names from the VR-sphere proclaiming support for the dev kit: Amir Rubin (CEO, Sixense Entertainment), Jan Goetgeluk (CEO, Virtuix), Cymatic Bruce and Karl Krantz (SVVR Meetup), and David Chavez (CTO, zSpace).
One thing be noted is that the Reactive Grip controller doesn’t include its own tracking technology. It is specially designed to accommodate a Sixense STEM tracker internally, but Tactical Haptics says they’ll make it easy to use other tracking methods like the Razer Hydra, Wiimote, PS Move, and others.
The dev kit has also reduced the number of sliders from the prototype from four to three, which could reduce the fidelity of the haptic sensation (more sliders would mean more ‘accurate’ targeting of the tactile feedback).
Here’s an easy to read breakdown of the core reward tiers for the Reactive Grip Kickstarter:
|$159 – One Controller (Early Bird)||A single Reactive Grip controller – Estimated delivery: October 2014||50|
|$179 – One Controller||A single Reactive Grip controller – Estimated delivery: October 2014||100|
|$179 – One Controller (Second Batch)||A single Reactive Grip controller – Estimated delivery: November 2014||250|
|$299 – Two Controllers (Early Bird)||Two Reactive Grip controllers – Estimated delivery: October 2014||50|
|$349 – Two Controllers||Two Reactive Grip controllers – Estimated delivery: October 2014||100|
|$349 – Two Controllers (Second Batch)||Two Reactive Grip controllers – Estimated delivery: November 2014||250|
You can also find a tee-shirt and lower non-controller tiers on the Kickstarter. The company is hoping that developers will back the dev kit tiers while mainstream gamers will back the lower tiers to show the world that there is interest in more than just rumble feedback.
Tactical Haptics has a number of demos already built for Reactive Grip which it would seem they’ll make available to developers to begin experimenting with the dev kit. Details are slim right now, but the company also says that the Reactive Grip SDK is Unity ready. The Kickstarter video even shows that the company has Reactive Grip working internally with the HL2VR 1.2 mod—I should mention that I’ve been saying to myself “I wish I had a Reactive Grip controller for this!” as I’ve been playing through HL2VR 1.2 the last few weeks. I can’t wait to be able to try it with the controller.
The Reactive Grip dev kit controllers are wired, though Tactical Haptics says that the future controller version will wireless.