Bridging the gaps that still remain in virtual reality once the visual and audio elements are at least ‘good enough’, VR enthusiasts will surely turn their attention to elements that are missing from their experience whilst trying to reach into these new virtual worlds.

It’s fairly clear that input development is still lagging some way behind the blindingly rapid progress made by VR Headsets in the last 2 years. Although E3 2014 gave us extremely positive experiences with Sixense’s STEM and Control VR’s VR Gloves, it does seem as if we’re moving in the right direction.

Haptics are tied to input but often seen as disposable. Haptic technology, speaking broadly, transfers feedback via physical movement. A basic example is the force feedback you have in your consoles controller, where different motor oscillations give you immediate physical feedback when tied to gaming events. We’ve covered Tactical Haptics many times now, and their approach to a particular type of ‘skin stretching’ haptics were uncannily effective and proved that advanced haptics could indeed help enhance immersion.

Now, DEKKA Technologies reckon they’ve produced one of the most advanced haptic feedback system, specifically built to emulate weapon recoil. Originally designed for training purposes, DEKKA seems to have realised that a realistic way to emulate the feel of firing weapons might just be of interest to the consumer entertainment market and, in particular immersive entertainment such as virtual reality.

Striker VR (stands for Virtual Recoil) claims to differ from other realistic recoil simulators in that their system uses an electro-magnetic linear drive system rather than bulky, noisy compressed CO2 – DEKKA claim the drive converts energy “directly to linear motion” which seems to effectively mean precisely moving a weighted barrel to simulate the movement usually caused by detonations within the weapon. Their programmable system can apparently also simulate changed in weight distribution, although it’s not clear how far this capability can be pushed.

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linear-drive
Striker VRs Electro-magnetic Linear Drive Recoil System

What’s not clear however is if the unit contains the other requisite technology to be involved in a VR experience. Realistic recoil is great, but if the movement of your weapon isn’t translated into the game, there’s not much point. Whether DEKKA will begin investigating these avenues is as yet unclear. Also, the system clearly requires some heavy duty power, supplied by a rather chunky cable. The image above which includes the control box (designed for industrial use) but it’s unknown how much of that box is assigned to power supply.

Still, it’s an interesting progression of haptic technology, the uses of which could well give us that realistic weapon feel enthusiasts crave. We’ll keep an eye on Striker VR and let you know how it develops.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • sponge101

    Oh, where to begin. First, it’s great to see many shout-outs in the video. Cross promotion is always good.

    Second is, from what I could gather, lack of buttons and it being wired. Maybe they’ll update overtime to address those problems. Positional tracking is a problem too but that’s more of challenge considering it’s going to be more of a game-by-game basis. The M4 is a good platform except maybe they should have gone with the more compact m4 variant (shorter barrel) so as to be able to turn and move more swiftly.

    Overall, very interesting idea at bring more immersion to vr. Sony’s sharpshooter and attachments reprogrammed for pc keystrokes might also be a good vr device but time will tell.

  • gosnold

    Seems like a very smart design, but for it to achieve its potential it would need to be coupled with a tracking solution, ideally VR gloves with finger tracking.

    Apropos of guns controllers, any news/feedback about the delta six? It started shipping recently.

  • WiredEarp

    There are lots of different guns that use electrically actuated recoil. However, I guess the innovation in this one is that they have control over the length of the recoil ‘stroke’, which is something you dont get with solenoids or modified airsoft recoil systems. Might have something there, but I agree with the other posters that it needs to be wireless. However, its probably currently wired as the current demands would drain a battery quickly?

  • Duku

    I could easily be wrong, but in the first 2 pictures of the device sitting on the couch there are several white dots along the gun. So im thinking they might be doing position tracking using an external camera. Just my two sense ;D This is looking really cool though! Im interested in seeing what price tag this will have.

  • Qon

    I like that the recoil is fully programmable. Would be interesting to try to recreate the feel of your awesome gun, crossbow, laser rifle and so on. Also when the gun is tracked you can stop doing virtual in game recoil animations and stop doing in game faked lower accuracy.

    Will be a good fit with the Trinity VR Magnum.

    Maybe the tactical haptics could be a good fit also? Though you aren’t swinging guns around like melee weapons that often q: