Our first encounter with this haptic technology goes as far back as CES
at the beginning of this year, where Mophie let us handle a prototype of its Pulse
haptic game grip for the fourth-gen iPod touch. Our very own Myriam was impressed by this $100 peripheral (which is now available on Amazon), and so were some of us here at TGS
on certain applications. We were most impressed by the pinball game demonstration using the Pulse, and even more so with a similar demo on a modified first-gen iPad that house two ViviTouch actuators -- there was certainly a more natural feel to the game, especially when the pinball hit the bumpers.
However, we had mixed feelings with the modified Xbox controller and Logitech G35
headphones. For the former, we're more used to strong rumbling produced by the built-in motor, but we can certainly see potential for games that feature more delicate actions with, say, musical instruments and elastic elements (think Angry Birds
and World of Goo
). Better yet, a combination of both ViviTouch and the usual vibration motor should fix each other's problem, but we'd imagine the ViviTouch module needs to be large enough in order to avoid being drowned out by its companion.
As for the headphones, we enjoyed the extra oomph provided by ViviTouch, but perhaps having the actuators right in the cushioned cups isn't the most effective way of providing haptic feedback, plus our ears were starting to feel itchy from the vibration. It'd be interesting to see if things improve by somehow placing the modules on the top of our heads or even on our neck -- get to it, engineers!