Force-feedback for smartphones tilts game-playing field (w/ video)

February 4, 2013 by Nancy Owano report
Force-feedback for smartphones tilts game-playing field (w/ video)
Copyright Hasso-Plattner-Institut

(Medical Xpress)—A team from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany is doing work in force-feedback technology targeted for mobile devices such as smartphones. Their work is an easy fit into the lives of smartphone gamers. No motors here. Their work is presenting a new day for gamers, in that there are no motors, no roadblocks to miniaturization as add ons for smartphones or other mobile devices, and no risk of draining a battery quickly as their device uses less power than vibrating motors.

"Force feedback devices resist miniaturization, because they require physical motors and mechanics," they said. "We propose mobile force feedback by eliminating motors and instead actuating the user's muscles using ," according to the researchers on their Hasso Plattner page.

Copyright Hasso-Plattner-Institut

They call this system muscle propelled force feedback. This involves electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to mimic signals that are sent by the to activate . EMS technology is often used as a rehabilitation tool designed to help patients recover from varying levels of paralysis. The researchers said their prototype fits on the back of a mobile phone and that it actuates users' forearm muscles via electrodes.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

While playing a game on a smartphone, jolts could go straight into the user's hand muscles. Small wired electrodes attached to the forearm would make the contract, The user then fights that contraction using another muscle to oppose it, so the sensation is as if one needs to fight a force.

"Our prototype electrically stimulates the user's arm muscles via the shown electrodes, causing the user to involuntarily tilt the device. As he is countering this force, he perceives force feedback," according to the team.

Force-feedback for smartphones tilts game-playing field (w/ video)
Copyright Hasso-Plattner-Institut

Stimulating in the user's arm through the triggers an involuntary contraction, which forces the user's arms to tilt sideways along with the device. The researchers leveraged the actions to create a scenario in a video game where the players are managing airplane movements.

In an airplane videogame, involuntary tilting represents winds that threaten to derail the plane. Players try to stay on course. In one illustration, the researchers show how muscle-propelled force feedback causes the user's wrist to tilt the device. The user responds by countering the forces to steer the plane against the wind.

Explore further: Robotic exoskeleton replaces muscle work

More information: www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/baudisch/projects/muscle_propelled_force_feedback.html

Related Stories

Robotic exoskeleton replaces muscle work

February 8, 2007

A robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system could help users regain limb function, which is encouraging news for people with partial nervous system impairment, say University of Michigan researchers.

Toad research could leapfrog to new muscle model

June 2, 2008

A toad sits at a pond's edge eyeing a cricket on a blade of grass. In the blink of an eye, the toad snares the insect with its tongue. This deceptively simple, remarkably fast feeding action offers a new look at how muscles ...

Biophysics: Order in chaos

May 3, 2012

The process of skeletal muscle contraction is based around protein filaments sliding inside sarcomeres — the structural units of muscle fiber. Inside each sarcomere is a set of filament motors, which appear in different ...

Vibrating armband helps athletes make the right moves

September 4, 2012

(Phys.org)—An engineering team from Imperial College London have come up with a vibrating armband tagged Ghost that can train a person's muscles and teach the user how to swing like Nadal, or play golf like Tiger, or help ...

Complete feel of user interfaces with vibrotactile feedback

October 4, 2012

Touchscreen mobile devices, phones and tablet computers, have gained prominence in our everyday life in the past years. Their user interfaces, however, make quite crude use of touch and the somatosensory system. Teemu Ahmaniemi ...

Recommended for you

Robo-whiskers mimic animals exploring their surroundings

August 4, 2015

Many mammals, including seals and rats, rely on their whiskers to sense their way through dark environments. Inspired by these animals, scientists working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois' Advanced ...

Thunderstrike 2: Proof-of-concept worm could infect Macs

August 4, 2015

Two researchers, Xeno Kovah co-founder of LegbaCore and Trammell Hudson, a security engineer with Two Sigma Investments, have created a proof of concept worm capable of attacking Mac computers. The worm which they designed ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

grondilu
not rated yet Feb 04, 2013
Well, I'd like to read a feedback from people who tested this.
MIBO
not rated yet Feb 05, 2013
how do you "derail" a plane?.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.