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Friday, May 17, 2024

This planned controller aims to bring realistic gun haptics to VR

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With VR rocketing along into the mainstream it’s hard to not think of it as a potential future mainstay for gaming. It’s getting better with great immersive screens like Pimax’s 8k headsets that recently received a 120Hz upgrade. Or easier, with portable units like the popular Oculus Quest 2. But more importantly, VR is getting much, much realer.

Advanced graphics and immersion are one thing, but haptics are really starting to level up too. Scientists and researchers have been working on all sorts of weird things like chemical haptics and even mouth spider haptics. While these sure do sound interesting, they’re potentially quite niche and a way off. 

Tom Man Design (spotted by Yanko Design) has something a bit more practical in mind with a realistic force feedback gun controller made specifically for FPS. Given FPS games are fairly popular, unlike those spiders in your mouth games, these controllers look like a sensible addition that could add a tone of immersion to your typical VR experience.

The ViR controller has a sleek gun shaped design which reminds me a bit of a futuristic dust buster, which Man has also worked on. Its goal is to be ergonomic and attractive, without looking too much like a weapon sitting around your house and from the pictures it looks to achieve this. The haptics were partially inspired by Sony’s impressive PlayStation 5 controller, which can also be used on PC.

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Where these rumbles differ is they’re geared much more specifically for gun recoil than a myriad of tasks. This likely allows the ViR controller to really dial in to the feel of a weapon kicking back, making it a more specialised tool. It also has dynamic triggers as well as full thumb and finger tracking. 

Of course all of this is a bit hard to comment on without trying one of these for ourselves. Man’s website has the date listed as 2021 but there’s no further information on these devices. I have reached out to see if we can find out more or if this is just another piece of vapourware I’ll be dreaming of when next I don my VR headset.

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