This is Tactical Haptics’ latest tech demo in action, a VR painting application designed to show off the capabilities of their skin stretching Reactive Grip force feedback technology integrated with the HTC Vive‘s SteamVR motion controllers.
We’ve followed Tactical Haptics‘ Reactive Grip technology since GDC 2013 but encountered it most recently at the VRLA Winter Expo when Frank He went hands on with their latest, in-house developed application Reactive Brush. A title which aptly describes the experience, He’s time with the demo and Tactical Haptics’ latest prototype, which integrates Reactive Grip with a developer edition HTC Vive SteamVR controller impressed.
It might have only been for a minute, but ‘drawing’ things in the air actually felt like I was drawing something on a physical surface, in the air. It felt like dragging a brush through a slightly thick medium of some sort. I forgot I had plates moving around in my controller’s handles, and the visual confirmation of my brush dragging paint around matched what I felt in my hands. It felt completely natural, and in my mind, the controller and the brush became one. It was absolutely amazing!
Tactical Haptics have released a video demonstrating the application in use that attempts to illustrate how Reactive Grip transfers physical force feedback sensations to the user. The system comprises movable plates, controlled by servos that shift according to actions within the application to give the user a sensation of weight or resistance that result from their actions. Like VR itself however, it’s a technology you really need to experience to ‘get it’, but trust us when we say it remains one of the most promising additions to human input devices. Reactive Brush itself is a surprisingly full featured painting application, considering its ‘merely’ a demo and serves as another reminder of how intuitive motion controls can be in VR.
The company is currently selling developer kits to interested parties in order to raise more capital to continue the technology’s development. If you’re interested in the technology and would like to discuss obtaining a development kit, head over to the company’s website to get in touch.