Tactical Haptics, creators of the ‘Reactive Grip’ haptic technology have adapted their latest prototype for use with the Oculus Touch VR controllers.
Reactive Grip is a novel haptic feedback technology that’s unlike anything you’ll find in modern day controllers which by and large rely on ERM motors or linear actuators to provide a rumbling sensation. Rather than rumble, Reactive Grip uses sliding bars positioned around the controller’s handle which put pressure on your hands to simulate and object moving within them. For certain use-cases, the effect can be very convincing. This (now quite dated) video does a good job of showing how it works:
To show off their latest prototype, Tactical Haptics adapted it for the Oculus Touch controllers and took them to yesterday’s SVVR Meetup at the NVIDIA campus in Santa Clara, CA. There they let attendees try the controller and the latest demos. While the makeshift mounting makes the controller quite tall, Tactical Haptics founder Will Provancher says that it works quite well because of the Touch controller’s light weight.
When I last had my hand on the Reactive Grip feedback, it was when the company had adapted their prototype for the HTC Vive controllers. It was then that I concluded, “Forced to choose between the two, I’d easily pick Reactive Grip over rumble, but ultimately the two complement one another, especially if the rumble comes from the more modern linear actuator approach which is great for subtle clicking and tapping effects as well as the usual ‘dumb’ rumble that we associate with the ERM motor rumble common in modern-day gamepads.”
The end goal for Tactical Haptics is of course to have a single, sleek integrated controller that does both tracking and haptics in one, rather than having to mount a VR controller to the haptic controller. That should be possible once Oculus and Valve finally open up their tracking solutions to third parties, but at last check it seems both companies are content to take their time.