Tactical Haptics, the company behind the unique tactile feedback technology ‘Reactive Grip’, will show their latest HTC Vive compatible prototype for the first time at VR Launchpad, the the VR startup showcase event, kicking off tomorrow at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

Road to VR has a long history with Tactical Haptics. We first stumbled across the company as it demonstrated an early version of its ‘Reactive Grip’ technology at GDC way back in 2013. The technology uses sliding ‘contactor plates’ to manipulate the skin on your hand to convey the illusion of translational motion and forces. So, for example, swing a virtual medieval flail around and you’ll feel the weight of the handle shifting and rotating in your hand.

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We last came across the TH team earlier this year, again at GDC, where we learned the company had won a grants from NASA and NSF (National Science Foundation), they’re currently in residence at StartX, a Standford-affiliated non-profit organization set out to accelerate entrepreneurs “through experiential education.”

tactical-haptics-reacive-grip-1Their latest prototype is designed to interface with Valve’s HTC manufactured Vive and Steam Controllers, adding naturalistic tactile feedback to the laser tracked VR input devices. This latest version will be shown for the first time at VR Launchpad.

Presented by SVVR and Road to VR, VR Launchpad will see 24 diverse startups pitch VR businesses focused on analytics, content distribution platforms, hardware, healthcare, entertainment, education, enterprise, and more.

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Will Provancher, CEO of Tactical Haptics explains the prototype you’ll see at the event tomorrow is designed “in anticipation of working with developers that are already working with Vive,”. The device, even at this stage, is designed to be plug and play “This sleeve interface will make it easy for them to pop the Vive on or off our controller,”. With the HTC Vive, Valve’s first Steam VR compatible headset, due to ship in small quantities later this year and in numbers in Q1 2016, Provancher has his eye on attracting developer talent to the system “Our plan is to take applications from developers wanting to work with Reactive Grip later this year.”

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  • mpisco

    I’m assuming the hope is for them to add lighthouse tracking to their controllers and this is just a stop-gap prototype for now. Exciting stuff!