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CES 2014: ViviTouch Hands-On

Posted by: John at 1/11/2014 6:21 PM

I’m not a stranger to the ViviTouch technology as I first checked it out at Able Planet’s booth at last year’s CES. Vivitouch produces these really small actuators that can fit into things like headphones, mice, controllers, stylus, etc. You name it, the actuators are probably small enough to sit in there.

One of the great things about the ViviTouch technology is providing unique haptic feedback to the user. Imagine having actuators on the top of a thumbstick and ones on top of the triggers. Now firing a gun, you’ll get a unique haptic feedback on your fingertip to mimic shells being ejected. Move with the thumbstick and imagine feeling each footstep on the tip of your thumb, separate from what you would feel on your fingertips that are resting on the trigger.

In studies, a person can differentiate up to 85 different effects and more with some training. The ViviTouch technology can be used to produce a great number of these effects and give the user a truly unique experience.

At ViviTouch’s suite, I tried out a few products equipped with one of their actuators. The stylus was something interesting as the area around my fingertip where it was holding the stylus would vibrate differently depending on the part of the screen I touched. I’d love to have something like this to give me some physical feedback when drawing or interacting with a UI.

Putting on some Mad Catz headphones, I could feel the bass in a new way on my ears as well as the rumbling of a tank or the firing of a shell in Battlefield 3. I remember the same demonstration at the Able Planet booth last year and it’s still pretty fun to experience.

Using a modified 360 controller playing Half-Life 2, I was able to feel each different gun and how they fired. Each gun produced a different haptic effect making the experience more immersive in the game. The controller rattled each time a bullet left the chamber of the magnum and vibrated continuously as bullets were shot from the machine gun. The effects with each gun had a subtle but noticeable difference.

It’s great to see the technology finally become a reality for consumers with the launch of some Mad Catz headsets. I’m really looking forward to see it make its way to the controller side of things and then I really think ViviTouch could really take off.