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Next-gen Game Controllers Tug At Thumb Tips

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the strict-catch-and-release-policy dept.

Input Devices 77

An anonymous reader writes "Engineers at the University of Utah have designed a new kind of video game controller that not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate various types of movement. 'We have developed feedback modes that enhance immersiveness and realism for gaming scenarios such as collision, recoil from a gun, the feeling of being pushed by ocean waves or crawling prone in a first-person shooter game,' said the lead researcher on the project, adding he hoped the technology would be adopted in the next generation of gaming consoles."

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Could it be possible that (4, Funny)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254259)

It pulls too hard and break your thumb? ouch!

Re:Could it be possible that (4, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254287)

It pulls too hard and break your thumb? ouch!

Not sure why this was downvoted. That would be a cool feature for Grand Theft Auto when you don't fulfill your obligations to the mafia.

Re:Could it be possible that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255505)

I really think many mods just mod the first post down regardless of it's content. There may even be a slashdot script that does it. I have seen well thought out posts downmodded first only to be +5 later on.

Re:Could it be possible that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255675)

Wouldn't a good zap of electricity between the thumbs be better?

Re:Could it be possible that (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258321)

It pulls too hard and break your thumb? ouch!

Not sure why this was downvoted. That would be a cool feature for Grand Theft Auto when you don't fulfill your obligations to the mafia.

Or a great incentive for you to buy the latest DLC.

Re:Could it be possible that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39264585)

Isn't that what he said?

Re:Could it be possible that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254301)

Only if you're stupid enough not to let go!

hmm... (4, Interesting)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254311)

"...not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate..."
what kind of games are these guys playing?

Re:hmm... (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254361)

Apart from your joke that probably refers to H-games...

Read the article and you'll see what kind of games they tried it with. In platformers, it signals when the character has run into a wall. In stealth games, it mimicks the left-right motion of a low crawl. In driving games, it signals when the steering mechanism is offering resistance. And in fishing games, it signals when a fish is biting.

Re:hmm... (1)

vidnet (580068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39328213)

So pretty much like the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback [youtube.com] joystick from 1998.

I had one of those. It had its moments, particularly when getting hit, but ultimately it didn't add much to the overall experience.

The only great force feedback application I've seen in a game is the buzzer alerting your drunken, distracted friends that it's their turn in Mario Party.

Re:hmm... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254365)

"...not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate..." what kind of games are these guys playing?

And if it is only their thumbs they are putting in the controller.

Re:hmm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254401)

Killer Twats! It's a fun fingering sensation right up until that soft snatch bares teeth and then bites...hard! Blood everywhere!

Re:hmm... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254887)

what kind of games are these guys playing?

The kind that puts hair on your chest^H^H^H^H palms.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255213)

"...not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate..."

what kind of games are these guys playing?

Read the part you quoted again, it clearly says "simulate" not "stimulate" ;-).

Re:hmm... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39255445)

"...not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate..."
what kind of games are these guys playing?

I don't know, but if I know one thing about console gamers, it'll be more than their thumbs that are going to get tugged.

I can see a lot of very interesting emergency room visits arising out of these next-gen controllers.

And how funny will the inevitable warning labels on the new controllers be? "WARNING: Use of these controllers by any body part other than thumbs and fingers is not recommended, may be dangerous and could result in a great deal of laughter among emergency room staff."

But you think that's going to stop every intrepid gamer from trying to play Bayonetta with his willy? No sirree bob. Not a chance. It won't even slow him down.

Whatever happened to force-feedback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254325)

I thought that was the future when they were touting it as the latest and greatest.

Re:Whatever happened to force-feedback? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256205)

Joystick-based gaming mostly disappeared and on a gamepad there isn't enough room for full force feedback.

Bah (4, Insightful)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254329)

There's still a long way till they manage to make a game controller that is actually better than the keyboard & mouse combo..

Re:Bah (-1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254397)

Wow, it took *four whole posts* for a PC snob to let us all know that his control scheme is *so* much better than any dirty controller used by us unwashed masses, thereby proving that his dick is, in fact, the longest?

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254473)

Don't be mad just because you can't process more inputs than the limited and clumsy array offered by a gamepad. Understand and embrace your limitations.

Re:Bah (1)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254761)

Uhm, I own a console and play games regularly with my gamepad..Still I prefer the KBM for FPS & RTS games. Could you repeat the reason you were trolling me for?

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39266105)

It's cool that you like the console's controller, but your thumbs agility does not match the agility of your wrist and arm and the ability to bind any of the keys on your keyboard to do anything you want. This is why there is no interconnetivity between the xbox and PC versions of the game, Xbox users get smoked because they simply do not have the same agility. This is why they put auto aim in so many FPS.

This is not opinion, this is fact.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254937)

Just making sure you don't forget. Because it's true. And it always will be.

Re:Bah (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254403)

Keyboard and mouse are fine for single player, not so fine for multiplayer when you have mates over. For that, you need gamepads or remotes (e.g. Wii Remote or PS Move). And in a first-person shooter with keyboard and mouse, how do you control your walking speed and angle, other than a mere walk/run toggle or 45 degree increments of forward and sideways?

Re:Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254673)

Umm you do realize that the mouse moves in four directions?

I use a trackball and can run one way, look another, shot you in the head and then turn back to my original direction or a new one and keep going. ANY PC gamer worth his salt in an FPS can move and shot in two different directions.

Thsi doesn't mean I disagree about "when you have yer mates over" but not everyone wants 10 sweaty guys in their living room to play MP games.

Re:Bah (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254777)

Umm you do realize that the mouse moves in four directions?

Yes: rotate the camera up, down, left, and right. But because these directions are proportional, one can aim at any speed and direction. The WASD keys, on the other hand, are like an 8-directional digital control pad, and you need a fifth key to toggle between usually two movement speeds (walk and run).

not everyone wants 10 sweaty guys in their living room to play MP games.

I was thinking two to four players, which is an improvement over KBM's one player especially if the people visiting your home can't bring their own family PCs. Maybe KBM on a LAN is best for FPS and RTS and gamepads for everything else.

Re:Bah (1)

nemasu (1766860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39255397)

Hmm, I guess the absolute best of both worlds would be an analogue stick for movement, and a mouse for aiming.
That would be pretty cool actually.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39258073)

For "best" it would still not cut it, mainly because you do not need more than on/off for WASD. Mainly because you cannot go from +right to +left quickly with an analogue stick. Newer games this may not be as obvious but I can't imagine playing any of the quakes with an analogue stick, or "dodging" in unreal with a stick.

For the entire history of FPS people have simply turned always run on for a reason. Some games offer walk as an option and the benefit is generally sound related.

Keyboard and mouse is where its at, will always be where its at. If you used something else you would be retarding your possible ability in a similar way to playing an FPS on a console.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255735)

You can tap WASD to move slowly, simulating light pushes on the control stick.

Good luck doing a nearly instant 180 (Or even more fun, 130 or some other arbitrary partial-spin) with a gamepad.

There is no way a gamepad can compete with keyboard/mouse for an FPS unless given massive amounts of autoaim and a game where enemies are coming from predictable directions. It just doesn't work.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255127)

ANY PC gamer worth his salt in an FPS can move and shot in two different directions.

...and thus we have returned to the *four whole posts* comment about PC snobs. Thanks for proving the comment is accurate.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254787)

And in a first-person shooter with keyboard and mouse, how do you control your walking speed

Mouse wheel. The Splinter Cell games did it, and I'm sure a lot more.

and angle

With your view.

Re:Bah (2)

Amtrak (2430376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254961)

Solution: One Mouse for looking and clicking on stuff, one 12 button joy stick for controlling the legs/button mashing. There was that really that hard? The only thing that makes computer games better than consoles when it comes to input devices is choices. On a computer you can remap inputs to whatever you want on what ever device you want(Except on a few lazy console ports). This allows the user to use what they are most comfortable with. For example I wouldn't dream of using a game pad to play Civilization or Sim City. In BF3 I like to use a mouse and keyboard for everything but flying. (Flying has to be a game pad or joy stick the mouse is too finicky). And for games like Batman and Assassins Creed I use a game controller because the games just work better with one. So choices, its all about choices.

Re:Bah (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257007)

Really?

Bunnyhop with your gamepad. Go ahead.

Walking slowly? I've got a walk key. Further, I can tap my movement keys intermittently.

Can you spinjump a 180 into a headshot, every time, on a gamepad?

You can do it on a kb+m, just a little practice.

FPS games using gamepads have autoaim, while FPS games that use kb+m are more likely to be derided for including such a nubbish feature.

Re:Bah (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257193)

Bunnyhop with your gamepad. Go ahead.

AVGN managed to [youtube.com] . (As usual, AVGN audio is not safe for work.)

But seriously, I'll grant that you've made your point about FPS. Now about all the other genres...

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39265267)

AVGN managed to. (As usual, AVGN audio is not safe for work.)

Cute. And yes, I do enjoy AVGN videos but seriously, while you might be able to tap a gamepad button in time to bunny hop, you still wouldn't be able to do it properly because of the limitations imposed by the d-pad or analog stick. Being able to properly bunny hop means you can continuously do it while moving in tight circles or instantly change direction without losing momentum.

Gamepads are only the best controller for side scrolling run and jump platform games. Wheel and pedals are best for driving. Flight yoke, throttle and keyboard are best for flight simulators. Joystick (arcade style) are best for fighting games and side scrolling shoot em ups. Keyboards and mouse are best for FPS, TPS, RPG, RTS, strategy, adventure, tactical, puzzle, side scrolling run and gun (such as Abuse or GunGirl) and even flight combat games (as shown by the fantastic controls in Freelancer). Over all I think keyboard and mouse is by far the most versatile.

For those people whose Konami code includes Select (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39275035)

You can't always use the best controller in each case. One reason is cost, another is mobility, and a third for desktop or set-top uses is how many of a given kind of controller the machine allows.

Wheel and pedals are best for driving

Are you talking about realistic driving (e.g. Gran Turismo) or cartoon driving (e.g. Mario Kart)?

Keyboards and mouse are best for [...] RPG

In a cooperative action RPG like Secret of Mana, what would players 2 and 3 use?

[KBM is best for] side scrolling run and gun (such as Abuse or GunGirl)

True, it'd allow more precise aiming than in Contra. But for those people whose Konami code includes Select, what would player two use?

Re:Bah (1)

timftbf (48204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289879)

FPS games using gamepads have autoaim, while FPS games that use kb+m are more likely to be derided for including such a nubbish feature.

FPS games are dull, so it's not an issue. Thankfully, some interesting games are still made for consoles as well.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254405)

Yeah, you're right there man, I can't tell you how much I wish I had a mouse while playing Street Fighter

SDI = fireball; DSDI = dragon punch. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254531)

KBM fanboys claim that they can pull off combos in the Street Fighter series with a keyboard, using WASD for movement, UIO for punches, and JKL for kicks, more reliably than on a joystick. It becomes like typing: SDI = fireball; DSDI = dragon punch. The problem comes when player 2 joins because most PC games don't support the Raw Input API, which is the only way to read keypresses on multiple keyboards as distinct from each other. Or does SFIV for PC support it?

Re:SDI = fireball; DSDI = dragon punch. (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39266827)

Sort of like the argument for using a hitstick (buttons for movement rather than a joystick).

No joystick throw == faster input times.

Re:Bah (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254443)

keyboard and trackball here. I don't game on something as low res as 1080, not since I upgraded to that 1600x1200 CRT from the 90s.

Anyway the question I have here is what is the tendonitis effect of random force at random positions and times? My guess is its either really good to prevent repetitive stress injuries or really bad when it creates weird strain injuries.

It'll probably only be used as an obnoxious gimmick, but I could see something like skyrim style lockpicking having some real world force feedback.

Re:Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255121)

No, you're gaming on an even lower resolution.

1600x1200 = 1,920,000 pixels
1920x1080 = 2,073,600 pixels

Re:Bah (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258215)

No, you're gaming on an even lower resolution.

1600x1200 = 1,920,000 pixels
1920x1080 = 2,073,600 pixels

1920x1200 = 2,304,000 pixels. 24" IPS, dual monitors.

PC's aren't limited to 1080p. I could have 4,096,000 pixels each on two monitors but I have a stubborn refusal to pay over $300 for a monitor.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39267603)

Nobody said it was limited to 1080p. The reply was in direct response to the statement that 1600x1200 was somehow higher resolution than 1080p.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255535)

I don't game on something as low res as 1080, not since I upgraded to that 1600x1200 CRT from the 90s.

Yeah, that high-end 19" CRT monitor that could display a nominal 1600x1200 resolution on was really unbelievable technology in the late 90's.

Of course, for the same price today you can buy a 30" flat panel with a full 2560x1600 resolution. I think you'd be really amazed how far displays have come in the last 12 years.

Of course, I have absolutely no idea why you need to talk about that tiny and out of focus monitor you still use when the rest of us are talking about the type of controller you plug into the USB port on the front of a computer.

Re:Bah (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39257037)

I've gotta back you up against these LCD fanbois.

I was also a long-time CRT holdout.

I still haven't seen an LCD that can refresh as quickly and completely as an old CRT, let alone when you've got high contrast AND rapid motion.

Kids these days think they have it good, but they have no idea. I like my LCD, but, damn. It ISN'T the same, STILL -- and now, there's no alternative. We have to just wait until some sort of flat-screen tech catches up to CRT levels.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39258151)

"Refresh" doesn't work the same way on a CRT as on an LCD. A CRT has to actually scan each line over and over before the image fades, otherwise you end up with flicker. On an LCD it doesn't matter since the entire image is constantly being displayed, thus an LCD operating at the same refresh rate as a CRT will always look better.

My LCD has a refresh rate of 240Hz. Show me a consumer CRT that even comes close to that.

Re:Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254651)

I may have had a lot worse precision playing Mechwarrior (3-4?) a long time ago, but it sure was a lot more fun with my old Logitech Wingman Force joystick than with my keyboard & mouse combo, that joystick had some powerful servos and a steel cables that allowed for some very strong and precise Force feedback effects, just the walking Mech effect was enough to make aiming at far objectives hard.

I may need to dust it off an reinstall the game one more time. Back then I used to have a 3D shutter glasses for my 19" 1920*1440 CRT display. I need to rebuild the whole system for some 3D retro gaming awesomeness.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39254679)

how many keys on that keyboard? inquiring minds want to know!

Re:Bah (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254729)

The marketplace has already decided that game controllers are already better than mouse & keyboards. It's not like keyboard & mouse technology is anything new, game controllers could and have made them an option for consoles - I remember shooters on the Dreamcast gave that as an option. They weren't popular, so it's no longer a thing.

Anyway we live in a world where you can play Skyrim on your XBox with a controller or on your computer with a keyboard + mouse, so really who cares.

Re:Bah (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254829)

They weren't popular because they radically unbalanced most games in favor of the KB and Mouse players. Basically it became a 'pay for results' sort of thing. Apparently in testing a few games in the last console generation in order to make the games even slightly competitive between the two options, auto-aim had to be turned up to an unacceptable degree for the joystick players.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255539)

So you're saying, keyboard + mouse is just too awesome, and that's why they didn't take over?

If people wanted keyboard and mouse so much, the games utilizing them would have been much more popular and what you're talking about wouldn't have mattered (especially considering multi-player over the network wasn't a thing at the time). Possibly, keyboard and mouse would have taken over as a controller - it would be trivial to allow for a PS3 or 360.

You're already basically expected to play shooters with an expensive headset attachment, so basically expecting (but not requiring) players to use a keyboard + mouse would be completely reasonable.

Re:Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255775)

You're wrong.

The problem with consoles is that they are used in locations where a conventional keyboard + mouse setup does not work. They're in living rooms, not on desks. They're basically incompatible with the mouse + keyboard combination because of this. You need a surface for the mouse and a surface for the keyboard. Using a controller is much MUCH more convenient to use even in situations where a mouse and keyboard would be a superior controller alternative.

Any movement of the hand translates immediately to an angle. On a controller, any movement translates to an angular velocity that then has to be controlled to reach the desired angle. This adds a layer of complexity between the player and the game.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256131)

You don't win at logic games I imagine.

Re:Bah (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254857)

Anyway we live in a world where you can play Skyrim on your XBox with a controller or on your computer with a keyboard + mouse, so really who cares.

Who cares are indie video game developers who lack the resources to move to Austin, Boston, Seattle/Vancouver, or other cities with multiple mainstream publishers. (I've already explained why in detail several times before.)

Re:Bah (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39255569)

Oh yeah, indie video game makers from small cities, who are releasing games for both consoles and computers. I'm sure there's at least dozens of people upset about that.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39256521)

The marketplace has already decided that game controllers are already better than mouse & keyboards. It's not like keyboard & mouse technology is anything new, game controllers could and have made them an option for consoles - I remember shooters on the Dreamcast gave that as an option. They weren't popular, so it's no longer a thing.

Care to go a few rounds in UT with your gamepad vs my keyboard and mouse then? I'd wager that you wouldn't even get a single kill.

Re:Bah (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254993)

I'll drink to that. If they want to really move console games all they have to do is make a keyboard for it.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255095)

love that combo for racing and flight sims. nothing better than a digital on/off throttle and steering inputs

Re:Bah (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256219)

Better...at what? The mouse is good for one thing: precisely pointing at things in a two dimensional space. And the keyboard is good at one thing: offering a multitude of distinct binary inputs. Those are pretty versatile abilities, so they do work for a variety of games, but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily ideal, and the list of genres that can't fit neatly into those input models is longer than you seemed to imply.

Granted, they're ideal for some genres. For instance, many MMOs provide a multitude of distinct actions to the player, and a keyboard or MMO-oriented mouse is ideal for that. Strategy games similarly offer a multitude of buttons to press, on-screen items to interact with, and things to click on, so the combo shines there. The ability to band box precisely and quickly also makes the mouse great in real-time strategy.

But for a racing game or flight sim, the combo falls far short. Similarly, for fighting games it's all but unusuable. Most sports games would be difficult or impossible to play well. Top-down shooters using a mouse are clumsy and awkward when compared to comparable twin-stick shooters. Many platformers, side scrollers, and RPGs, while they do work on PC, are better served by a controller, since they only have a small handful of distinct actions at any time and lack the need for precisely selecting an on-screen object, making the mouse and keyboard massive overkill for their needs.

Even with first person shooters, nearly always the example of why the mouse and keyboard combo is better, I'd argue that it's still not the best. Granted, it's far better than a traditional controller [gameranx.com] , and they were definitely the best option available for a number of years, but a mouse adds a virtual divide between the player and the target they're aiming at. You're not physically aiming at your target. Rather, based on feel and the game's visual responses to your movements, you're moving a reticle in-game until it lands over a target. That works, but it's not ideal.

Something that allows actual aiming at a target is better, such as a light gun or Wiimote. Granted, the light gun has other drawbacks (a lack of way to move the player, for one), and the Wiimote is an early iteration on a technology that still has some issues (response time, precision, etc.), but having played shooters on the PC for years, I was blown away by using the Wiimote with Metroid Prime. It, to me, felt like the direction that first person shooters should be going. I was actually shooting at my enemies, and while it took some adjusting, it was much more natural and enjoyable than the mouse.

So, as a general input device combo, the mouse and keyboard is great. Controllers aren't likely to replace that anytime soon. But as an ideal input method, the mouse and keyboard combo is really only the best pick for a small handful of genres.

Re:Bah (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39256341)

Go ahead and try to pull off something like this [youtube.com] with a keyboard and mouse. Your desperate key clacking would amuse me no end.

Horses for courses.

Re:Bah (1)

tmarsh86 (896458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278525)

I prefer to be in a comfortable chair and nothing in my lap while playing videogames, thank you very much.

Who's with me? (1)

theghost (156240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254399)

I hereby make a motion that everyone immediately and permanently stop work on all controller innovations that do not involve jacking our brains directly into the computer. Who's with me?

Re:Who's with me? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254555)

I hereby make a motion that everyone immediately and permanently stop work on all controller innovations that do not involve jacking our brains directly into the computer. Who's with me?

Oh, I'm fine with that, it's the pills ... THE PILLS!!!

Re:Who's with me? (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39258237)

I hereby make a motion that everyone immediately and permanently stop work on all controller innovations that do not involve jacking our brains directly into the computer. Who's with me?

They have a hard enough time getting DRM to work with DVD drives without breaking the entire OS, why the hell would you let them interface with your brain. They'll likely overwrite your respiratory drivers without telling you and due to poor coding, the DRM will shut down one or both of your lungs when daylight savings kicks in.

Not sure... (1)

Xandrax (2451618) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254495)

...I want to know what type of computer simulations this type of controller technology will lead to.

I'll give such a thing a pass (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254535)

I suffer rare instances where my thumb joint becomes inflamed and sensitive, bout lasting for up to two weeks (you really begin to understand how much you rely upon your thumb at times like this) usually set off by some minor little stress, which I haven't quite indentified. Odd I can lift heavy weights, do all manner of physical labor (shoveling, sawing, hammering, pushing, pulling, lifting, twisting) with no problem, than some little movement sets if off, like picking up a coffee mug.

Whatever happened to eye-motion contollers? That would probably work well.

Re:I'll give such a thing a pass (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254809)

Whatever happened to eye-motion contollers?

Just because you are looking at a particular object in your view doesn't mean you want to select it. Would you want to have your PC's mouse pointer track the saccades of your eyes while you read a comment like this?

Re:I'll give such a thing a pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255023)

Just because you are looking at a particular object in your view doesn't mean you want to select it.

This porn just popped up and I can't close it because I keep clicking on her ass!

Not new (1)

xeromist (443780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39254725)

This would be new to the console mass market I suppose, but not new as a controller. A small company called Novint has been selling haptic feedback controllers for years now on the PC.

There's also a company called TNGames that sells a haptic vest designed to simulate bullet hits & explosions.

Re:Not new (2)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39255269)

having read the article, and looked at the included picture at length, i can honestly say, i've not seen anything exactly like this before, and it seems like a smart idea.

For those of you who do not care to read the article, the way this particular unit works is this:
The normal round thumb stick tops have been replaced with a formed sort of depression that the thumb tip fits into, (think, conformed grip)
in the middle of this space is a hole, with a nub that would only *just* come in contact with the surface of the thumb. This nub moves independent of the gross motion of the control stick, allowing the feedback to not interfere with the fine movement of the control.
It appears that the movement it makes is sub-dermal. That is to say, it does not slide across the skin, but rather gently pulls at it (press your finger on your arm and wiggle, the skin of your arm moves a little, but your finger does not slide. Like that).

Sure, it is not a haptic vest, but in terms of ease of use (you just pick it up, you don't have to wear it) i suspect that this is something we will see in the next gen console controllers.

IBM Trackpoint nib + Feedback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255037)

Seems to me like this is just a grippy little nib- kinda like the IBM trackpoint devices- with a motor attached to it, similar to how "force feedback" joysticks used to do it back in the day.

Not sure if anyone here ever used one of those joysticks, but they were a sight and sensation to use. The Microsoft Sidewinder units were probably the best out there- completely oversized to hell, weighed about 15lb and plugged straight into the mains (no power adapter, just a removable appliance cord- the PSU was built-in). They even had a nifty optical sensor built in so the joystick wouldn't flap around like a dying fish if you let go of it. I think they cost around $249, they weren't cheap but boy were they worth it.

Games like Descent 3 and Mechwarrior and Battlefield 1942 (I think) took advantage of the force feedback, and it was pretty wild. If you ran into a wall, the joystick steppers would kick in at full strength and it felt like you just smashed into a wall. Mechwarrior had all sorts of weapon recoil, and they were all different- so you could tell what you were firing by the force feedback pattern shooting up your arm. I recall that there were a few flight sims that used it too (can't remember the names though) and they'd push the joystick steppers in relation to the number of Gs you were pulling.

It was all rather fantastic and added a sensory depth to otherwise flat games. Playing any of them with a proper FF joystick definitely made the game seem more "real" to a certain extent.

So it's kinda nice to see this technology has survived, even if it's a prototype and in a miniature format designed for gamepads rather then full-hand joysticks.

-AC

I'd give this controller... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39255039)

...two thumbs down, except that it moved my thumbs into a thumbs up!

Really? (2)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39255401)

Go on, pull the other one. .:)

Force Feedback (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39258411)

Next generation force feedback for handheld controllers.

Maybe the generation after they'll put some sort of gyroscopic motivator inside (gyroscope inside the controller, by using servos to move the gyroscope in one direction, the controller will pull in the other direction).

*edit* Hah! I was right. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/cue/GyroTab/

To appear in the proceedings of ACM CHI 2012, May 2012 --Looks like this is brand new!

Specifically, from the PDF at the bottom:
Differences in weight

Output torques from the device are generally perceived as
resistance, making a virtual object harder to move around.
We found that increasing the angular momentum of the
system could help to convey differences in the weight of a
virtual object (for example, a vehicle in a game), with high-
er angular momentums corresponding to heavier weights.
We envision applications in gaming or tilt-controlled user
interfaces. This could also be built into handheld measure-
ment equipment that requires restricting the rate at which
users can tilt the device.

Path guidance

The torques from the device can also be used to create the
feeling that the device is tugging the user’s hands along a
path. This perception is based on the fact that the output
vector is perpendicular to the input vector defined by the
user’s own torque. We envision this sensation being useful
in applications such as real-time remote navigation of a
robot or robotic arm that is intended to follow a certain tra-
jectory or avoid obstacles.

Simulated physical media

Varying GyroTab’s feedback can simulate motion of a vir-
tual object through different physical media. For example,
more feedback (and thus more resistance to motion) corre-
sponds to more viscous media. Similarly, the same mecha-
nism can be used to simulate friction between a moving on-
screen object and an on-screen surface. This could, for ex-
ample, make a virtual ball easier or harder to control as the
surface it rolls on changes. Beyond gaming, this could be
extended to any tilt-controlled interface to allow the user to
detect UI boundaries, for example.

Momentum
Finally, the device can be used to covey the momentum of a
moving object. As described above, the feedback could be
used to make it difficult to turn a car in a video game, just
as the forward momentum of a physical car makes it physi-
cally resistant to quick turns. This is perhaps the most intui-
tive of these proposed effects, because the feedback itself
originates from the momentum of physical masses.

Re:Force Feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39258531)

I submitted this as an article after I saw how new it was

http://games.slashdot.org/submission/1968941/gyrotab-a-microsoft-project-for-gyroscopic-force-feedback

The tags are annoying though - I wasn't expecting it to add a tag after every space with no option to delete it.

step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281847)

i wish they'd make a force-feedback computer gaming mouse already...

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