ControllersVirtual Reality (VR) now has feeling or haptics! Dr. William Provancher, associate professor in mechanical engineering and founder of Tactical Haptics says that he has, “generally been interested in VR, but with a specific focus on creating new haptic devices. More recently I participated in a US National Science Foundation (NSF) program called I-Corps, which is meant for helping Principal Investigators (PIs) of prior NSF research understand the commercial potential of their research. A big part of the I-Corps program is the “customer discovery” process, where we discovered that the people we were talking to were very into the “experiences” we could create in virtual environments with our haptic devices.”

hapticsPictured is master’s student Markus Montandon who is experiencing the suspension forces of a virtual car through the handles that were developed in Provancher’s laboratory, as master’s student Nathan Caswell looks on.  Both students have worked on game controllers that have utilized novel tactile feedback as part of their master’s research.  Reactive grip tactile feedback allows the user to experience more engaging force-torque like feedback than can be created with “rumble” vibration feedback in current game controllers.



Tatical Haptics Official Website:

Tatical Haptics Press Release feature story: “University of Utah Engineers May Have Revolutionized Virtual Gaming” -November 14, 2013

Deseret News story: “University of Utah students, faculty create next-generation game controller” -November 18, 2013

Additional press coverage by Mashable, TECHNEWSWORLD,  THE VERGE, DVICE, VB, MTBS3D1, Road to VR, GAMASUTRA, Damn Geeky, games radar, GIZMODO, and others can be found at