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May 24, 2012 at 1:23 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

The Next Generation Of Control

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

"The finest fury is the most controlled." -Christopher Hutchins

Engineers at the University of Utah are currently developing a new level of, game to gamer, controller interaction in which the controller provides feedback to the thumbs through the joysticks.

Awesome Additions

For the uninitiated, controllers currently provide feedback through motors coupled with a rotating weighted hammer (shown in picture). When an action in the game is deemed worthy of feedback, the motor Vibrating Motorsengages, spinning the hammer at varied velocities, vibrating the controller and adding a little extra sensation to the gamers experience.

This proposed new addition will not replace the vibration feature, merely enhance the tactile experience for the gamer. Inside the joysticks, a motorized rod with a textured head rubs directly on the skin. The rod moves in correlation with explosions, waves, kick from a gun, sudden momentum changes, and much more. When a move is initiated the stick presses slightly into the skin and spreads out the surface of the thumb, moving in harmony with the action of the game.

Hold On Tight

As a statistically relevant example, let's take a metaphorical look at your average first person shooter. In any given round, you can run into a plethora of directional cues and directionally jarring events. For the sake of this example, let's say we are playing a round of a territorial objective gametype (capturing and holding certain points spread across a map).

You spawn and the new controller gives you a gentle directional nudge to the closest point that needs capturing/defending. Taking advantage of the intelligence, you begin to head to the indicated capture point.

keep calmMid way there, you have to duck into a building in order to survive an enemy bomb run. During the run, both the controller vibration and the sticks are going crazy, creating an extremely disorienting sensory experience coupled with the visual display showing the screen shaking and the building crumbling around you.

After waiting for the dust to settle, you advance upon your objective, settling on making the top of a nearby hill to survey your target area. Just before you reach the summit, you drop to prone and crawl the rest of the way up, the new joysticks alternating circle rotations to give you the feeling of actually pulling yourself up that hill.

Once you reach the top of the hill, you look down the sites of your rifle, the joysticks pulling back slightly in anticipation. You spot three enemies sitting on your objective, ripe for a grenade launch and clear maneuver. You pull your grenade launcher, the sticks turning down to the direction you pulled the weapon from, adding to the gravity of switching between weapons. You pop a grenade on the objective, sticks kicking back in recoil imitation, then quickly switch back to your rifle to pick up the scraps, all the while being constantly reminded of the intricacy of your movements by the new joysticks under your thumbs.

End of text demo...

Check out the video below for a more concrete look at the functionality of these exciting new controller elements.

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  • Mind blown! Is there a company that is going to have this as their standard controller? I see most of the pictures you used were xbox, are they the ones working on this? Sounds pretty crazy! Not like I need more disorienting things going on when I'm playing games.

  • Rex, I was totally stoked while writing this as well!

    The developer isn't tied to any hardware developer right now, but did mention that they are trying to get all the paperwork in before the next generation of console comes out. That being said, we may be seeing a new level of experience next year!


  • I know right? Talk about complete immersion.,..

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