Experimental Game Controller Can Scald or Freeze

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Experimental Game Controller Can Scald or Freeze

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Be careful when touching this new controller: It changes temperature depending on what's going on in a game.

Videogame developers have constantly been looking for ways to make us feel the experience of a game rather than just seeing it since the beginning of the industry. The latest attempt is with an experimental controller that can make players feel differences in temperature.

The currently codenamed ThermoGame was revealed this week at the 2010 SIGGRAPH conference and is described as a "video game interaction system that offers dynamic temperature sensation to users." It uses peltier elements to quickly heat or cool the sides of a controller. Don't worry, because the extremes of each temperature are reportedly not enough to cause any damage to the hands; they're just enough to create a sensation.

Researchers from the Tokyo Metropolitan University and the National Institute of Special Needs Education demonstrated the controller with a game they developed called Eruption Jumping. When the game's robot is near an area of heat or cold, it'll provide that sensation to the player. The researchers determined that it takes a little more than a second longer for users to react to heat than to cold.

This type of controller could be written off as a gimmick, but its creators plan to use it to develop a game system that the blind can play through temperature sensation alone. It could also be used to burn your arm off if you make a misstep into the lava in a Mario game. I'm just saying.

Source: ThermoGame via PopSci

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Sounds really really amazing. Forget Kinect, this add-on is another step towards immersion. No flailing around, simply sitting and feeling the actual heat or cold within your palms whilst remaining perfectly motionless.

That just seems like there aren't going to be enough practical uses to make a reality outside of labs and such. Also if that happened I can all ready imagine the shovel-ware. "Pro Fishing: Ice lake edition." or "Pro Fishing: Hades Lake of Fire edition."

Sounds cool if you were playing Lost Planet or something, but where is the application for a regular FPS?

Ertol:
Sounds cool if you were playing Lost Planet or something, but where is the application for a regular FPS?

If the place has any kind of ice area, which a lot of FPSs have (examples: MW2, all the Halos, Crysis, most of the Battlefield games, etc) decreasing the tempature on the most sensitive part of the body should really increase the immersion, or if somebody puts a flame thrower on you, then it should get really hot.

This sounds like the DUMBEST idea since the Sony Move.

Ugh.....this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The idea behind the tech is interesting enough, but it just doesn't seem like it would be all that useful or even necessary from a practical standpoint.

It would be the coolest thing ever if they didn't tell us about it and just put it in every controller.

Digikid:
This sounds like the DUMBEST idea since the Sony Move.

Ugh.....this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

"I got burnt by this here thingummy I bought. The warning label did not specifically state how badly burnt I would become. I demand money for my pains!"

This would be great, even just for keeping your controller nice and frosty while you game. I hate having to wipe palm sweat off controllers.

Also, along with standard vibration the heating would make for a relaxing massage. ;)

Edit: Just thought of a neato use for it: What if you're playing a spooky game like Silent Hill, and the game tells you an enemy is near by making your controller cold, giving you chills. That would be awesome.

Ertol:
Sounds cool if you were playing Lost Planet or something, but where is the application for a regular FPS?

bioshock series(plasmids)
call of duty series(fires, cold climate situations)
i guess Halo series (plasma fire, overheated plasma weapons)

Yes, i can imagine the increase in immersion. I remember there was the amBX system a few years ago which used similar things (lights control, temperature changes, wind), but it didn't sell in any serious amounts because it was expensive and was only supported by a few games.

Luke5515:
...or "Pro Fishing: Hades Lake of Fire edition."

Oh man, that's hilarious.

Sounds like the rumble feature. I.e. Annoying and not-at-all immersive.

y'know what... screw the immersion factor, just let me turn on the cold or heat whenever I want.

Your hands are sweating? Well turn on the cooling mode!

Just got in and your hands are too cold to game? Turn on the heat!

We can now blindfold people and play "Marco, Polo" on consoles?

This will be interesting.

I beg to ask the question; how much?

Woodsey:
Sounds like the rumble feature. I.e. Annoying and not-at-all immersive.

Yes, because guns don't shake at all when you're firing them. What were they thinking.

And now they're adding heating? That's another thing guns totally don't do.

Am I the only one who saw this and immediately thought of the "temperature-dependent memory alloy" in the original Metal Gear Solid? And here I was thinking that we could freeze the controller to make it take on a completely different shape.

This is an awesome idea, though. It won't be groundbreaking in terms of immersion, but it can definitely help, at the very least.

This is actually a pretty good idea. Plasmids from Bioshock would be so much cooler if when you had Incinerate! out you actually felt the heat.

The Thief:

Woodsey:
Sounds like the rumble feature. I.e. Annoying and not-at-all immersive.

Yes, because guns don't shake at all when you're firing them. What were they thinking.

And now they're adding heating? That's another thing guns totally don't do.

Look, I'll be kind and give you a quick tip: don't give a sarcastic reply when you either a) Don't know what immersion is or b) Haven't read what you're replying to properly.

Yes guns shake and I imagine they get hot, that doesn't make it more immersive when your controller does that. It's the same reason motion controls are less immersive than gaming with a mouse and keyboard or gamepad: you're being brought back into the real world.

...to be frank, this sounds about as likely or as innovative as the whole "smell the game" shinanigans we had a while back... I don't think it'll catch on.

Sounds interesting though my feeble human brain can't think of a good use for it other than say sharp shooting or careful hacking with hot being bad/off target and cool being correct or people looking in your direction.

Ertol:
Sounds cool if you were playing Lost Planet or something, but where is the application for a regular FPS?

The extreme heat of the desert? Too bad there is a cliche'n'boring temperature for all those regular FPS games...

I would really give this thing a try as long as the price is reasonable...

Just another useless mechanic, that if it WERE able to catch on, would require developers to waste time and money to integrate.

Im not spending $70 on the Next Gen games because of Uber HiDef and Thermal Controllers

Woodsey:

The Thief:

Woodsey:
Sounds like the rumble feature. I.e. Annoying and not-at-all immersive.

Yes, because guns don't shake at all when you're firing them. What were they thinking.

And now they're adding heating? That's another thing guns totally don't do.

Look, I'll be kind and give you a quick tip: don't give a sarcastic reply when you either a) Don't know what immersion is or b) Haven't read what you're replying to properly.

Yes guns shake and I imagine they get hot, that doesn't make it more immersive when your controller does that. It's the same reason motion controls are less immersive than gaming with a mouse and keyboard or gamepad: you're being brought back into the real world.

First, I'm sorry if I came off a little rude. Just my sense of humor getting the better of me.

Second, I agree that motion controls are immersion breaking, but this and vibration are nothing like motion controls. Motion control is an input method, whereas vibration and temperature are feedback, just the same as audio and video. I would think the more senses a game can give feedback for the more real the experience would be.

I can't argue whether or not you personally find it to be immersive, but I find it helps greatly. The only thing about it that breaks the immersion for me is if the motor has an annoying buzzing noise like some do.

Wedlock49:
y'know what... screw the immersion factor, just let me turn on the cold or heat whenever I want.

Your hands are sweating? Well turn on the cooling mode!

Just got in and your hands are too cold to game? Turn on the heat!

This could actually be pretty great. I freeze during the majority of the school year because its so cold here. Love to be able to game and warm up at the same time.

Wedlock49:
y'know what... screw the immersion factor, just let me turn on the cold or heat whenever I want.

Your hands are sweating? Well turn on the cooling mode!

Just got in and your hands are too cold to game? Turn on the heat!

That would be the practical use for this. There really isn't anything else.

This is rather interesting. I can't wait to see what they do with this. Is there a set date of release?

Cool, but I thought SIGGRAPH was for graphics...

I'm calling gimmick on this one. How often is the heat (or lack thereof) going to really matter? So I'm in the ice dungeon in Zelda and my hands are cold...that's just going to be annoying.

Solid Snake "Otacon, I am putting my thumb on this oven...it is part of my plan to get the plans to metal gear!"

Otacon "Snake make sure you have a plate of Ice cubes next to you!"

Snake "Right, not shamelessly plugging a pointless technology again... this is all part of the plot!"

This is a small step, but a simple innovation that I REALLY want to see, it would actually be such a nice little feature. Although sweaty palms syndrome would be even worse at times than it is now. This is a genuine, logical, possible, affordable step forward.

3D is good, but I don't want it now, and motion controls are a massive leap backwards. So I like this, it's good.

I'd like one set to permanently chilled, just a couple of degrees below room temp to keep my hands from sweating during long sessions.

Straying Bullet:
Sounds really really amazing. Forget Kinect, this add-on is another step towards immersion. No flailing around, simply sitting and feeling the actual heat or cold within your palms whilst remaining perfectly motionless.

Congratulations good sir. You have just suceeded in summing up the way this thread should go so out of honor:

/thread

That sounds pretty cool, I hope they add it in next-gen.

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