In the world of video game controllers, force feedback has been around for many years. Force feedback allows the controller to pull against the player to make things such as flight simulations and racing games feel more realistic. For instance, on a driving video game, you can feel the forces as you turn the car into a corner and on flying games you can feel the G forces pulling back against the stick.
The University of Utah has created a new prototype video game controller, which is similar to the traditional game pad that PS3 or Xbox gamers are used to playing with. The difference is that the university researchers have placed a small red knob in the center of the traditional thumb sticks that are able to pull against the user offering force feedback sensations on the game pad. Traditionally game pads only offer vibrating feedback.
The researchers tested multiple layouts for the controller and found gamers could easily interpret the direction of the small tugs provided by the little red eraser-sized tactors in the center of the normal thumb sticks. According to the designers, a gamer using this controller for shooter game would be able to feel the thumb sticks push on one side and pull on the other as their game character crawls on the ground. That would be very interesting. It would certainly add a new dimension to gaming with a game pad. The controller designers hope to bring the technology to commercial game pads in the future.