Perfect VR input needs precise control and realistic feedback, two things that are difficult to balance with modern technology. Hapto thinks it has the answer, though it creates a few questions of its own.
This new motion controller is completely different the the Oculus Touch, Vive wands, or VR gloves. Hapto looks more like a bracelet for your hand. Inside are 20 ‘pushers’ that will press up against the palm of your hand to simulate touching objects in VR. There are also four buttons at the end of the controller for your fingers to push.
It’s also got low latency motion control, though it’s not clear if it offers six degrees of freedom (6DOF) like on Rift and Vive, or 3DOF as seen with Daydream and Gear VR. It supposedly connects to each of these headsets as well as other mobile headsets, with PlayStation VR (PSVR) and HoloLens support also in the works. Apparently the controller can work with over 300 Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) supported games already. It connects to Android 5.1 on smartphone and is tracked via web-cam on PC.
The kit apparently offers two hours of battery life and weighs 238g. It looks a little like a toy, but the video below shows the wiring that powers the pushers.
Hapto has an IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign running right now, and it’s already raised over $15,000 of its $25,000 goal, but the campaign page doesn’t actually show any footage of the device really working within VR. There’s an overly-produced pitch video and some testimonies from users, but nothing that actually shows how it looks in-game. There’s a lot of promises here, so we’re eager to find out if Hapto actually delivers.
We’ve reached out to Hapto to find out a little more about the device.
Early bird backers will be able to get a Hapto for $129 plus shipping costs, while the standard edition goes for $149. The retail price, meanwhile, will be $249. Estimated delivery is in March 2018.