Microsoft is trying to make virtual reality a more immersive experience by enabling haptic links between VR controllers, which could, to pick a couple of examples, lead to a much more realistic implementation of the likes of rifles or bows in games.
As VR currently stands, the typical setup consists of a headset, and then a controller in each hand. However, while having individual controllers freely moving around is fine, in some situations it would be better to have those controllers linked and providing haptic feedback between both the user’s hands.
As spotted by WalkingCat, Microsoft Research is working on a system of Haptic Links, which the company describes as “electro-mechanically actuated physical connections capable of rendering variable stiffness” between a pair of handheld VR controllers.
It’s easier to explain with an example: you’re in a game, dual wielding pistols. In this case, the haptic link allows you to move both controllers completely freely about, aiming and firing your guns independently of each other.
Then you pick up a rifle. In this case, the haptic link locks both controllers into place, in-line, so it really feels like you’re holding one weapon in both your hands. Similarly, if you picked up a bow, the haptic link system can imitate the action of drawing the string back (complete with variable tension).
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