Visual and audible elements can take virtual reality to new heights when it comes to immersion. The two combined efficiently provide an experience so close to reality it’s frightening but, as it currently exists, there’s a limiting factor when it comes to achieving the highest degree of realism: haptic feedback. A lack of haptic or physical feedback is not to say the experience is significantly dulled in anyway, it just speaks toward another layer of interaction that could be more readily available for VR in the future. Tactical Haptics has received a round of seed funding that could see them advance the discussion further.
Haptic technology in recent years has been an expensive venture and resulting devices have been cumbersome and, overall, just not practical for regular consumer use. Tactical Haptics is aiming at both of those issues with its current prototype and acquiring a $749,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, bringing their total funding to $2.2 million, will help to further develop the project. The device works by applying in-hand shear force to replicate sensations that go along with using a bow & arrow, shooting a gun, or even pulling in a fish.
Tactical Haptics’ device is visually more appealing than the Wolverine controller we reported on in late October and though it doesn’t seem as malleable to different types of interactions as the Wolverine, its form factor looks a lot more plausible and similar to VR touch controls currently available. While the Wolverine offers a solution that gives feedback to individual digits on a person’s hand, it doesn’t seem ideal for mass consumption in its current form. Tactical Haptics will be using their new funding to work on a developer kit, fit with mini-games displaying the tech’s capability, so that developers can integrate into games currently in development or inspire new ideas.