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Consumer-Level Haptics On the Way

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the can-you-touch-me-now dept.

Input Devices 41

longacre writes "Yesterday we discussed Carnegie Mellon's maglev haptics controller which, when it goes on sale, will be aimed mostly at laboratory applications, and therefore out of reach for most consumers. Today, roboticist/futurist Daniel Wilson reviews that controller in-depth as part of a larger look at the burgeoning world of tactile feedback devices. Several mobile phones now on the market use haptic touch screens as well as a number of gaming devices, such as the Novint Falcon controller. According to Wilson the applications are limitless, from making it easier to manipulate robots to allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road when changing radio stations. Quoting: 'Haptics doesn't just close the gaps in our current computer interfaces — it can open up new possibilities. Blending haptics with recent advances in the field of robotics allows doctors to train for intricate procedures virtually, with increasingly accurate sensory feedback — and the technology can bring a new dimension to remotely controlled machines, helping negotiate obstacles in distant settings.'"

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Oh dear... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668386)

I want one... but the ergonomics on that thing look terrible.

Re:Oh dear... (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668886)

You know, there is a rather large untapped consumer market for certain varieties of tactile feedback devices.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669884)

like this one? [afrotechmods.com]

It's DIY.. ;)

Seriously, there is Money to be Made! (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676484)

You know, there is a rather large untapped consumer market for certain varieties of tactile feedback devices.
If cards are played right, there is a lot of money to be made from sex-play haptics over the Internet. Road warriors who want to keep the fires lit with their wives at home. Also the young nerd virgin contingent. How about a Facebook app? (A Sitonmyfacebook app?) Cafes which are also just good internet cafes, with clean, comfortable and well-appointed private rooms with high-end haptic sex toys would make money. (You buy your own attachments, and someone has to clean up after you.) They'd have to be high-end. We're talking about haptic versions of the Sybian [sybian.com] here. (Bragging -- yes, I own a Sybian. And yes, I use it on my girlfriend. And no, she *cannot* bear the highest setting. 40% is about as high as she can stand.)

Re:Oh dear... (1)

riceslimbo (737901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669006)

That thing on the right side of the article isn't a picture of the device. It's called a spoon.

/me clicks on article link

oh wow Powerglove 2.0

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22669952)

...There is no Spoon...

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22668400)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
consumer-level goatse on the way [goatse.ch]

the most prevalent haptic device... (1, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668422)

Would probably be the Apple "Mighty Mouse."

The scroll ball doesn't have any bumps- the sensation comes from a piezoelectric transducer that makes a slight vibration and click noise. Same thing with the squeezable sides: the click isn't part of a mechanical switch.

Another party trick for the Mighty Mouse: the squeezeable sides are "harder" to squeeze when the mouse isn't on a surface. Try it now...squeeze it, then pick it up off the table and squeeze again.

Did Apple ever get around to making Windows drivers? Without drivers, the sensitivities on the capacitive buttons are all fucked up. Which largely explains why most windows users found it impossible to use reliably...

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668532)

I got a Mighty Mouse shortly after they came out (I was in the market for a mouse anyway, and the short cord was handy for use with my laptop). I've used it exclusively on Windows. The buttons always worked just fine (sure, the squeezing doesn't activate Expose, but it does do 'back' or something like that I don't bother with most of the time).

Standard USB human interface device stuff. Is there something ultrafancier about next-generation Mighty Mice I didn't know about?

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668754)

The first generation Mighty Mouse behaved radically differently under Windows than it did on MacOS; the secondary click function didn't work nearly as well. It was either that different firmware was uploaded, or sensitivities were adjusted.

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668550)

i would think that power steering systems in cars... would far outstrip the sales of the 'apple mighty mouse' you know, providing similar force feedback that say a rack and pinion naturally gives the driver.

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668688)

(cough)PS2 controller?

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (4, Informative)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669026)

Another party trick for the Mighty Mouse: the squeezeable sides are "harder" to squeeze when the mouse isn't on a surface. Try it now...squeeze it, then pick it up off the table and squeeze again.


The only reason those buttons are harder to squeeze when the mouse is off a surface is because your fingers don't have as much leverage to push on those buttons. Those squeeze buttons are nothing more than contacts mounted on both sides of the mouse.

The scroll ball doesn't feature anything that generations the vibration. It feels exactly the same whether or not the mouse is plugged in. The mouse does feature a tiny speaker which surprised me when I did learned about it.

You can see the internals of that mouse here [arstechnica.com] .

The mighty mouse is no more a haptic device than any other mouse. Game controllers with force-feedback are really the only haptic devices currently available to consumers.

Actually, I'm surprised someone hasn't introduced force feedback into mice yet. It would be interesting to get some sort of feedback when the cursor hits the edge of the screen, and even more interesting to implement it in games. Perhaps nobody has done it because the mouse would just start vibrating all over the desk.

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669188)

I don't know the details, but I heard that the reason force feedback isn't being done is because it got patented by some troll company which has no intention of implementing it.

A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

jubei (89485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669710)

Actually, I'm surprised someone hasn't introduced force feedback into mice yet. It would be interesting to get some sort of feedback when the cursor hits the edge of the screen, and even more interesting to implement it in games. Perhaps nobody has done it because the mouse would just start vibrating all over the desk.

Logitech had a vibrating mouse in 2000 called the iFeel [news.com] .

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22670046)

One is sitting right in front of me. I can't get XP drivers for it. Rather useless.

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22671948)

Don't feel too bad. It's rather useless with drivers as well. With mine, there was more feedback from the noise of the motors than meaningful vibration.

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22672456)

If you have XP drivers for an ifeel I would very much like to obtain a copy. My mouse was quite serviceable under 98, did what was expected and didn't have extra vibration, and I even saw one game (B&W) that had extra support for it. But no luck with XP, apparently Logitech withdrew the drivers and I have to been unable to find a copy of them anywhere. If you know where I can find them please post back. If you would mail them to me you could try the address slashdot_temp.mouse.frothingslosh@spamgourmet.com (however, that will only last until about 5 minutes after the spammers harvest it and start spamming it, which from past experience isn't long). Thanks in advance.

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22673366)

Thank you for posting your email on slashdot.

Please accept this huge volume of feedback, forced into your mailbox. ;)

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22682844)

As noted, it was a spamgourmet account and will only let a very limited amount of mail through before going dead forever. Spammers can keep sending mail to the black hole forever, but it does not get out.

Re:A Force Feedback Mouse Existed in 2000 (1)

peteMG (87639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677562)

I worked for a consulting company in 2000-2001 that did a contract for Immersion. They developed the haptic tech that went into the Logitech mice. They hired us to put together some demos that showed off what the thing could do for the web. We brainstormed a couple different ideas; most involved the mouse vibrating when you moved the cursor over interesting areas of the page. For example, if you were reading a financial news page, and moused over a paragraph with stock ticker symbols, you could tell whether the stock was rising or falling by the behavior of the mouse.

Yeah, the client was more excited about it than we were. We couldn't bring ourselves to call it haptic feedback. "It's a vibrating mouse "

Re:the most prevalent haptic device... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22673480)

i recall a half-life 1 mod had a special driver added for a force feedback mouse system...

this is the people the driver was from iirc:
http://www.immersion.com/ [immersion.com]

No one will want a maglev haptics controller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22668702)

Not after what happened in Shelbyville.

Hey! (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668784)

Would one of you rich geek guys please buy me one of these Novint Falcons? They look like a lot of fun, but I was late embracing my geekness, so I don't have $180 laying around. Oh, a faster PC would probably help, too.

Thanks.

Re:Hey! (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22668884)

Actually, I just lucked into one of these for $70 when my local CompUSA closed it's doors last weekend. It is *really* cool, but I haven't been able to get it to work properly with Half-Life 2 yet... I think I may also need a faster comp.

rer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22668926)

Re:rer (1)

voalse (1252046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22724206)

Re:rer (1)

voalse (1252046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762416)

Re:rer (1)

voalse (1252046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22776636)

Re:rer (1)

voalse (1252046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782434)

redundant copy of dupe (2, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669198)

Re:redundant copy of dupe (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669228)

Note to self: never drink and /.

Re:redundant copy of dupe (1)

daenris (892027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677034)

That link is in the summary. This post is more about the review of the device.

robots and radio stations? (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669302)

...making it easier to manipulate robots to allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road when changing radio stations

Which is easier to do while driving--reaching down to press one of your radio's preset buttons, or programming your lego mindstorms robot to reach down and press one of your radio's preset buttons?
I don't think any amount of haptics/tactile feedback/nonvisual cues will change that situation.

yea, right (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22669626)

This would be far more interesting if I didn't have sitting in a box right in front of me an expensive Logitech "ifeel" optical mouse that is rather useless because Logitech no longer has available XP drivers for it!

zzzz (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22670956)

Am I the only one who's bored by the gaming industry lately? Ooo.. we can make a haptic nipple that you can fumble around with looking like a clumsy teen while you're trying to play HL 2. Make a full body suit that can simulate you being in the game world, and then call me up; I'll maybe think of picking up a WoW account then.

Novint Falcon controller at Comp-USA (2, Informative)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22671128)

As some of you probably are aware, Comp-USA is going out of business for the past few months.
Prices are slashed, I went to the one here in Goleta California, they had about 20 of those Novint Falcon controllers, they couldn't even give them away. The seemed to have been there for a while, long enough for the gloss to wear off the boxes and have a layer of dust on them.
Interesting since the article make it seems like they just came out.

Even more Interesting was at 50% off they were listed at $300, which seems to be higher then retail prices..
listed in the article $189

It's spelled haptics but pronounced WALDO (1)

WindShadow (977308) | more than 6 years ago | (#22720122)

In the book Waldo and Magic Inc the "Waldo" device was a set of gloves (more or less) linked to larger, smaller, or remote artificial hands. With full tactile feedback, the wearer could use huge hands to manipulate large items such as girders and the like, and small hands to do very tiny precise work. It sounds as if this capability will be possible in the near future, although possible is not a synonym for available.

This is likely to be one of the "disruptive technologies" if the cost is reduced.

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