Monday, March 05, 2012

Games and Academics - The Controller

Professor William Provancher of the University of Utah along with three of his students have designed a controller that would better respond to players thumbs, and push back for more interaction. The idea was to make games more immersive, thus allowing users to become more involved in the games themselves.

The feedback isn't a new design. Vibrating controllers is basically what I'm referring to. They prompt a response from the gamer to let them know that something has happened in the game that requires their attention.

The difference with this controller is that it requires the user to respond. If you're being pushed back by an enemy, the thumbsticks will resist your motions until you push and break away from that digital object.

I'm all about immersion so it's a nifty little toy I'd like to try out. But the design could use a facelift. The controls are very, very, very basic and mimics a really bad XBox controller. There are 2 thumbsticks with your primary buttons on the top and to the side. Not feasable for 99.99% of us that game. It has potential, sure, but in it's current format no way.

Since this is for educational purposes, don't expect it to be on the market anytime soon. But the ideas behind it and the fact that they accomplished it are pretty nifty.

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