New controller tech bins rumble, sends electric shocks to your muscles instead

Tuesday, 19th February 2013 08:36 GMT By Dave Cook

German scientists have created a new form of force feedback that does away with rumble motors entirely. The system emits painless electrical charges from your smartphone and transmits them directly into your hands.

New Scientist reports that the system – developed by Pedro Lopes and his team at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany – sends the signals to your hands via electrodes attached to your forearm. The electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) shocks stimulate your nerves, causing your muscles to contract.

Commonly used in therapy designed to help patients overcome paralysis, the shocks are entirely painless. Lopes tested the system on gamers playing a flight sim, and stated that “All of them preferred our mobile force-feedback over traditional vibrotactile feedback.”

Because the system doesn’t require motors, it can fit into smaller devices without compromising scale, and drains battery life less quickly. Continued Lopes, “As far as we know we’re the first to apply EMS to force-feedback in mobile gaming.”

Lopes and his group will demo the tech at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris, this April.

What do you make of the tech? Will it catch on, or does the idea freak you out? Let us know below.

Thanks Destructoid.



  1. noamlol2

    lol what?sends electric shocks to your muscles instead?

    sounds like fun

    #1 2 years ago
  2. xxJPRACERxx

    Yes, can’t wait to try it on my balls!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ps3fanboy

    great idea and if you have sweaty hands you will be electrocuted….

    #3 2 years ago
  4. friendlydave

    @2 Yes! This and the Ju-C Air controller, Pleasure is to be had!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. deathm00n

    @3 Actually, it won’t. If the shock doesn’t have a significant amount of ampers (I think it’s ampers, or is it the current? some enginner help me there) then it will do nothing to you. Once in a scientific fair they made everyone hold hands and discharged a 20000 volts in the first person that flowed to everyone, and the only thing you feel is like you are being pushed back, everyone fell in their chairs but there was no pain.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. MadFingerz

    @3 Lol, you serious? Or you just have no idea how electricity works?

    Anyway, this is the kind of thing you can’t really imagine how it feels without testing first so I’m curious about how they’ll market it.

    #6 2 years ago

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