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.